33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
Oaths or vows are serious matters to God and not subject to the technical exemptions men may create to skirt responsibility for promises made and broken. Jesus tells us that citizens of the kingdom of God are transparent people to whom truthfulness is a critical characteristic. When they say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ their word is their bond to which further affirmations are unnecessary.
Of course, this quality of truthfulness is a natural result of people who acknowledge their brokenness before God, mourn over their sin, meekly submit to the will of their Father, seek His righteousness, practice mercy towards others and walk with purity of heart to help others resolve their differences, even to the point of selfless suffering (cf., Matthew 5:1-12). The thought of deceitfully promising something while holding on to a loophole or escape clause is not conceivable to them.
“Oaths” – May 20, 2018