#32 – What the Gospels Teach – Exceeding the Law Concerning Vows – Matthew 5:33-37

"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 NASB)

I would recommend reading posts #28-#31 before proceeding to read this post.  It would be beneficial to your understanding of where I am coming from.

As was stated in previous posts this section of the Sermon on the Mount follows a specific pattern.  We already studied that pattern as it pertains to, murder, adultery, and divorce, and in 

this post we will view this pattern in light of keeping vows.  As in the previous posts concerning this portion of the sermon on the mount we will see that Jesus states a law, then reveals the intent, and then explains how to exceed the righteousness of the Law.  Recall also from Matthew 5:20 that in order to enter the kingdom of heaven the Law must be exceeded, because ‘unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Regarding Matthew 5:33-37

Jesus states the law – “You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.”

Jesus states the intent – “But I say to you, make no oath at all...”

Jesus states how to exceed the law – “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’, or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.”

While this seems to be a simple teaching, the implications of this teaching are enormous.  In light of the rest of the scripture it is known that Liars will not enter the kingdom... You shall not bear false witness... the words that come out of you defile you... the tongue is a monster that sets the world on fire...  So many things are said in the scripture about what comes out of the mouth of a person.  Jesus says in order to exceed the Law let your statement be ‘yes, yes’ or ‘no, no’.  We must understand that our character lies in our words, and the things we say are evidence of who we are.  What we profess in the quote ‘religious setting’ when we make vows and so on is meaningless if it is not coincident with what our mouth utters in even the most private conversations.  Your yes must be nothing other than yes, and your no can mean nothing other than no.

The only time we even need to vow is when our character is in doubt!  Yet if our character is not in doubt, and there is no reason to disbelieve our word, there is no need to bring a vow into play.  Jesus is clear that we are to be of a character in which no vow is necessary.

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