CHRIST’S SERMON ON THE MOUNT (STUDY 13): THOU SHALL NOT SWEAR
Bible Text: Matt. 5:33-37 | WEEKLY BIBLE STUDY (22/08/19, 29/08/19)
Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement
Topical Study: CHRIST’S SERMON ON THE MOUNT (STUDY 13):
THOU SHALL NOT SWEAR
Text: Matt. 5:33-37
INTRODUCTION: In our study of Christ’s Sermon On The Mount, we come today to His discourse on the 3rd commandment, which forbids the taking of the name of God in vain, as we consider the theme “Thou Shall Not Swear”. The old law forbids men to swear falsely and enjoins them to stand by their oaths in the name of the Lord, as otherwise would amount to taking the name of God in vain (Exo. 20:7). But in the new law, Jesus forbids us to swear by whatsoever, wanting us to be truthful men, who should be taken by their words (Mtt. 5:33-37). So while enjoining us not to swear at all, He is also charging us to be men of sober and solemn words.
Meaning Of Swear Not (Mtt. 5:33-37; Jms. 5:12).
To swear an oath is to name somebody or something as a guarantee of what is promised or appeal to some greater (often a deity or anything else) to be witness to a solemn declaration/pronouncement. And when that is done it is accepted in settlement of all strives (Heb. 6:13-16). This is because it is believed that the person who has so sworn will come under the vengeance or wrath of whatsoever/whosoever he has named as a guarantee to the truth of his word or appealed to as witness, if he later denies it or it turns out to be false.
In the old law, taking an oath in God’s name was acceptable provided the taker of the oath spoke the truth or performed his word or stood by it (cp. Lev. 19:12; Num. 30:2; Jer. 4:2; Mtt. 5:33). But in the new law, Jesus forbids us to swear at all (cp. Mtt. 5:34-37; Jms. 5:12).
Here, Jesus not only condemns false oath taking but also rash and irreverent invocation of God’s name to back-up one’s word, promise or declaration (cp. Mtt. 5:34-37; Jms. 5:12). Swear not at all, also condemns the act of invoking idol gods, or using whatsoever thing thought to be sacred as object of an oath (Mtt. 5:34-37; Jms. 5:12).
This conventional swearing/oath taking is different from a solemn affirmation of the truth of a matter, which sometimes might involve voluntarily (not as a matter of constraint or necessity) calling upon God as witness (Rms. 1:9; 2Cor. 1:23; Phil. 1:8).
In courts or anywhere else, children of God do not swear by anybody or anything, but they solemnly affirm the truth of their words.
Men Of Solemn Words (Matt. 5:34-37; Jms. 5:12).
Perjury or falsehood is common with natural men (cp. Psa. 116:11; 62:9; Rms. 3:4). And it was on account of this that oath taking was commanded and commonly practised in the days of old (Lev. 19:12; Num. 30:2; Deut. 6:13; Heb. 6:16). But in the New Testament, Jesus would have His followers to be different people: men who speak the truth from the heart; men known for truth, who do not need to swear by anybody or anything before their words are taken; men of solemn words. Truthfulness at all times is one of the characteristics by which true children of God are known (cp. Zeph. 3:13; Zech. 8:16; Mal. 2:6; Eph. 4:25; 6:14). If we are men that tell the truth at all times as God enjoins us, we will have less pressure to back-up our words with an oath.
True children of God are not people of flippant tongues and frivolous words. But they are men of sincere and solemn words. Their yes is yes, and their no is no. They are trust-worthy and reliable men and women. They are neither crafty nor double-tongued (1Tim. 3:8). They are neither exerggerators nor prevaricators. They are given to speak just the truth always, not minding that it could hurt them nor whose ox is gored (cp. Ps. 15:4). What they say in secret, that is what they say in the open.
Such men of truth and sincerity make vows and also stand true to them until they have made them good (cp. Eccl. 5:4-5).Have you made any vow to God, including that of the IGMC of the hour? How true and sincere are you to it? Resolve today to be a man/woman, boy/girl of truth who would not need to be coerced to speak the truth, through oath taking. Let your yea be yea and your nay, nay.
Let us pray. HSCF 47