12 Sep 2012

Make no oaths at all

Submitted by theshovel

Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil. Matthew 5:33-37

Listen to the simplicity as Jesus cut to the chase regarding the reason behind oaths or vows in the first place. The reason? Because there is no real harmony between man's words and his intentions. People believe their words really have the power to bring their claims to fruition, and yet as Jesus said, a person cannot make one insignificant thing happen simply by speaking it. In truth, the vow, for man, is all about creating some wiggle room. In other words, men love to make promises and then later claim that there were valid reasons for not keeping it. The bottom line is that people will say whatever needs to be said to get something in return.

The reason Jesus told them to not even make vows at all was not to go against the Law but to uncover the sneakiness of man (for the Law is not bad, but good). It does not take any special revelation to understand that if people were to simply mean what they said ('Yes, yes' or 'No, no') there would be no reason for a vow ... for it is common knowledge that a vow is meant to hold a man to his word, in case he later decide to break it. And even then, through the accumulation of lawyers and new rulings, people have discovered that they can easily lose what is owed them, or end up owing what they never agreed to. This is the result of the mind of man as he twists the Law to his own benefit.

Now, I know there are many who have set Jesus' words up as some kind of new covenant command, but this is a total perversion of what he meant. I'm not saying that we should not do what we say, I'm saying that the truth behind what Jesus said is found within the grace of God that was to come through his own body and blood. For he was in the process of bringing about the new creation in himself. We have difficulty with all this because we are caught up in the failure of the flesh, which we keep alive by living as if we are still under Law. It's past time we discovered the truth about who we are and what we are truly about.

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

Related Content: 


Excellent. I think James has been misunderstood for bringing up the same thing. It might be that his simplicity in the matter has been overlooked. He says somewhere not to make an oath so as not to fall under condemnation. And I myself used to read the fears of hell into this for a long time. Now I think that he simply pointed out the absurd attempt of some that were binding themselves to an obligation to the mind of fleshly expectations, which resulted in living in view of condemnation. Because having died to the flesh, there no longer remains an obligation to the flesh to be made. Yes or No is sufficient, because there now is the clarity to rightly assess all things so that the failure resulting through the lust to do the forbidden is absent.

I don't know why we even make vows and promises to begin with.  They are big set-ups for failure, rejection, judgment, and condemnation.  Why do we put ourselves and each other under such torture and suffering?

 What you say is exactly the point James and Jesus were bringing up. It is not we that are making them, however. Otherwise we would not have recognized as hateful the suggestion that we ourselves are somehow obligated to seek to validate our understanding of what is good by an outward act. It is not about saying the words at all, for through freedom we can say the words and not bind ourselves to any expectation despite what others conclude. It is rather about the mind, both in us and in others, that understands the act as binding and therefore as an opportunity for fleshly condemnation. This is the mind of error.


theshovel's picture

I appreciate this, my dear brother! :)


Does and/or can this subject matter also include such 'vows' and 'promises' to GOD, to ourselves, and/or to others that we tend to make that prove in time to be unrealistic expectations of ourselves?  You know, those things that can sometimes prove to really even be quite cruel and unfair expectations of ourselves?  We may have really genuinely meant them at the time, but perhaps did not have the ability to really see ahead as to whether or not we would ever even be able to fulfill such expectations, hopes, and well-meanings.  Time passes only to reveal that we have spent our lives, our emotional, mental and physical energies chasing after our determinations to make whatever it is happen to the exclusion of perhaps far more important issues and even people in our lives.  We feel such an intense and deep inner desperation to bring the promise/vow to pass because we do not want to disappoint GOD (Who by the way never had the expectation of us in the first place, but perhaps our religious sensibilities and imaginations did) or the person/persons we made the promise to.  These are very real issues in human life.  (They are especially 'traps' between adults and children.  LOL)

These vows/promises can become addictions of sorts  …  painful bondage of unnecessary proportions.  The closer the reality is revealed of it hitting us that we can not fulfill the expectation (or expectations plural - whatever they may be), becomes this heavy dark thing that looms over us and we can suffer the most debilitating sense of failure, loss and even mourning …. a mourning over something that was never even going to be. 

Sometimes even the most rational and most reasonable of well-meaning promises and 'vows' can prove to be the most uncooperative and illusive things to accomplish, much less the IRrational and totally UNreasonable ones.  Life is just not that predictable and cooperative or controllable.  I don't know why we even make vows and promises to begin with.  They are big set-ups for failure, rejection, judgment, and condemnation.  Why do we put ourselves and each other under such torture and suffering?

Nevertheless, I can see how it can become the perfect opportunity for GOD to convince us we are free in the matter and can let it go and FORGIVE ourselves and each other the more we realize it just wasn't necessary to begin with.  There is nothing wrong with hopeful and well-meaning goals and pursuits.  What about when we unknowingly at first allow it to become an obsession that corrupts and robs and damages us, our lives and/or others involved in our lives?

Thank GOD that HIS Spirit in us can reveal these things to us and set us free from such heaviness of heart and mind and bondage.  It can be a bondage and freedom issue that plagues us off and on from time to time even to the grave, but the taste of such freedom each time it is revealed and remembered is sweeter and sweeter and with more confidence and support.   :)

Anyway … just wondering about all that.


theshovel's picture

Thank you, Sherri, for posting such a living response to this matter of vows and oaths. It is only God's spirit that freed us from this obsessive bondage. And as you say, it might all start out so well-meaning ... but then it comes back to bite us in the butt. Thanks so much for taking your time to write this out. :)


Excellent article! We DO get so buried under what we have been badgered into seeing ourselves with huh? It’s a BIG deal! Adam

Add new comment

Random Shovelquote: You are being led (view all shovelquotes)

If your heart is calling out to your Father, don't attribute it to a lack of being led, for it is proof that you are being led. source