Summary: This sermon unpacks lawful oaths and vows and we see it implications upon our lives who we are meant to be and also shows the opportunity we have if we step out in boldness and honour God by taking it for His honour and glory.
Article 22: Lawful Oaths and Vows.
“Let Your Yes mean Yes and Your No mean No.”
1. Firstly what is a vow? A vow is a solemn and promise made to God.
We see marriage couples on their wedding day making their vows to love and cherish one another these aren’t simply vows made to each over and the congregation but they are solemn vows made to God Himself. I believe the same is true when we give our hearts and lives in repentance and faith to Him we make solemn vows to Give Him our lives for His glory.
Num 30:1-2 Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: "This is what the LORD commands: 2 When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.. Simply put , if we vow before God to do something or pledge something we must fulfil it, keeping to our word our Yes is Yes and our No is No.
We must not be like ... The wealthy oil tycoon lay on his death bed, his pastor talked of God’s healing power. “Pastor,” he gasped, “if God heals me, I’ll give the church a million dollars.” Miraculously, the man revived and within a few short weeks was out of the hospital.
One day, several months later, he and the pastor chatted on the sidewalk in front of a hardware store. “You know,” the pastor said, “when you were in the hospital dying, you d promised to give the church a million dollars if you got well. We haven’t got it yet.”
“Did I say that?” the tycoon asked. “I guess that goes to show how sick I really was!” Today in the Word, July, 1990, p. 34
Now that’s funny, but that’s so often the case isn’t it, that people make rash promises – vows before God and others and fail to keep it whether that’s in marriage, in business, in service to God and in the whole of life. Vows are often revoked. Brothers and sisters this should not be for the people of God.
Section 5. States A vow, which is not to be made to any creature but to God alone, is to be made and performed with all the utmost care and faithfulness. But monastically vows (as in the Church of Rome) of a perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience, so far from being degrees of higher perfection, are superstitious and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself.
2. Secondly what is a lawful Oath?
In (Duet 10:20). We see a call to, fear the Lord, hold fast, and by His name swear. A lawful oath is a solemn affirmation of something, or a promise to perform, which is made to or between two people, while God is invoked as a witness. And only in the name of God can a righteous oath be sworn and must be used with reverence and fear towards God. That’s why in (Exdus20: 7) The commandment states. You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain. This was a very serious matter!
In the Old Testament we see that a lawful oath was an act of religious worship, in which the person swearing in truth, righteousness, and judgement, solemnly calls God to witness what he swears, and to judge him according to the truth or falsity of it
We still often see this lawful Oaths taking place in a court of law in our country whereby a defendant gives a lawful Oath before the court, as he/she raises the Bible in his right hand and he/she invokes Gods name and says, “I promise to say the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God.” This is a lawful Oath.
Section 2 states. In matters of weight and moment, for the confirmation of truth, and for the ending of strife, an oath is sanctioned by the word of God (heb.6:16, 1Cor1:23 legal context or Church context), therefore a lawful oath imposed by a lawful authority, can rightly be taken in such circumstances.
a) 0ath taking within the sanctuary. (O.T. practice)
(2 Chro 6:22-23) 22 "When a man wrongs his neighbour and is required to take an oath and he comes and swears the oath before your altar in this temple, 23 then hear from heaven and act. Judge between your servants, repaying the guilty by bringing down on his own head what he has done. Declare the innocent not guilty and so establish his innocence.
In the Law of Moses it was provided for oaths to be taken in the sanctuary to determine guilt or innocence if there were no witnesses. In this legal case a priestly ritual is taken place whereby God Himself is invoked to judge to condemn the guilty and clear the righteous individual.