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Foundations For Our Future #70

Foundations for Our Future (70) 

by: The Rev. Dr. Jon Shuler

Oaths

We begin a new section today, and again we see the Lord correcting behavior that is common among people, but which is not to be common among his disciples. We are not to swear oaths. (Matthew 5:33-37)

Why do people swear oaths? Is it not because we want to emphasize that we are telling the truth?

What Jesus seems to be saying is this: You are to be known as truth tellers. If you are asked a question that requires a ‘yes’ or a ‘no,’ give that simple answer. And then live by it. You do not need to add any further words to your answer.

We have all seen the court room scenes: “do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” Jesus is telling us the answer is “yes” or “no.” The law of our land expects an “I do.” and most Christians are willing to answer as bidden. But some do not. Why?

They believe that they are breaking the Lord’s clear teaching, but are they? I think they have confused a forbidden action, which if initiated on their own part would be wrong, with a request made by the governing authority to which we are to be submitted. (Romans 13:1) Fortunately, for tender consciences, the law allows, in court, an “affirmation” rather than an “oath.”

The bottom line is this. Followers of the Lord Jesus are to walk in the light. That means telling the truth.