LAWFUL OATHS AND VOWS
A. A lawful oath is part of religious worship in which the person swearing in truth, righteousness and judgment, solemnly calls God to witness what he swears, and judge him according to the truth or falsity of what he swears: Dt. 10:20; Ex . 20: 7; Lv. 19:12; 2 Kr 6:22, 23.; 2 Cor 1:23.
A. Men should only swear by the name of God, and in doing so have to use it with all holy fear and reverence. Therefore, swear vainly or rashly by that glorious and fearful name, or just swear by anything else, it is sinful and must reprobated: Dt. 6:13; 28:58; Ex . 20: 7; Jer. 5: 7.
B. However, in matters of weight and importance, for confirmation of truth and to put an end completely to a contest, the Word of God justifies the oath, so when a legitimate authority requires a lawful oath in such cases, the oath should be: I 6: 13-16; Gn. 24: 3; 47: 30.31; 50:25; 1 Kings 17: 1; Neh. 13:25;5:12; Esd. 10: 5; Nm. 5: 19.21; 1 Kings 8:31; Ex 22:11.; Is 45:23.; 65:16; Mt. 26: 62-64; Ro. 1: 9; 2 Cor 1: 23; Acts. 18:18.
A. Anyone who takes an oath warranted by the Word of God should seriously consider the seriousness of such a solemn act, and not say the same nothing but what you know is true, because reckless, false and vain oaths is caused the Lord and because of this the earth groans: Ex. 20: 7; Lv. 19:12; Nm. 30: 2; Jer.4: 2; 23:10.
A. An oath must be done with common words whose meaning is clear, without equivocation or mental reservation: Psalm 24: 4; Jer. 4: 2.
A. One vote (which must not be made to any creature, but to God). Nm. 30: 2,3; Ps 76:11; Jer. 44: 25,26.
B. It must be done and fulfilled all pious care and fidelity Nm. 30: 2; Psalm 61: 8; 66:13, 14; Eq . 5: 4-6;Is. 19:21.
C. But the papists monastic vows of perpetual celibacy, poverty and obedience intended to ecclesiastical rules, so far from being degrees of higher perfection that are really superstitious and sinful snares in which no Christian should become entangled: 1 Cor 6:18 with 7: 2, 9; 1 Tim. 4: 3; Eph. 4:28; 1 Cor 7:23; Mt. 19:11, 12.
As a child I remember hearing the story about George Washington and the cherry tree. When little George faced his father distressed by the capricious destruction of a cherry tree, the little one said: "I can not tell a lie; I cut the tree".
It took me years to realize that Washington's confession was actually a lie. Saying "I can not say a lie" and is lying about the ability that one has to lie. There are many things that George Washington could not do: he could not fly; I could not be in more than one place at the same time, etc.
But certainly that George Washington could tell a lie. He was a man. All human beings are capable of lying.
Scripture tells us that "every man a liar" (Psalm 116: 11) . This does not mean that all lie all the time.
We also have the ability to tell the truth. The problem arises when we are asked to trust the word of someone, and we can not know for sure if we're telling the truth.
To highlight the importance of truth to make promises and give important testimony, we turn to the oaths and vows. Before testifying in a trial, the witness must take an oath. He or she will promise to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. May God help me so."
In the oath, he appeals to God and God alone as the supreme witness of the claim. God is the guardian of the vows, oaths and promises. He is the source of all truth and is incapable of lying. What was false in the case of George Washington, is true in the case of God. God can not lie (Titus 1: 2; Hebrews 6: 17-18). God also does not support liars.
He warns about the risk of promising lightly or falsehood: "Fulfill 10 that promise is better not topromise, not to vow and not pay." (Ecclesiastes 5: 4-5). The Ten Commandments include a law against bearing false witness (Exodus 20: 16).
As our entire relationship with God is based on the promises of the covenant, God establishes the theme of the votes, oaths and promises. For the welfare of society need to trust in any human relationship (such as marriage is established and trade agreements). A legitimate oath is part of worship by which people, seeking to ensure the veracity of what they say, seek the support of God to witness what they say andpromise. What this implies is that if those who take an oath then lie, God punished quickly and severely.
The Christian Church has always affirmed the value of oaths and vows. Westminster ministers listed the following scriptural limitations and stipulations:
Men should only swear by the name of God, and therefore must do so with all holy fear and reverence.Therefore, swearing vainly or rashly, by that glorious and dreadful name, or to swear by anything else is sin and must be abhorred. However, as in terms of weight and opportunity, the oath is backed by the Word of God, in the New Testament and the Old; a legal oath imposed by lawful authority, in such matters, must be provided.
An additional stipulation is that an oath should not be done mentally or misleading reserves. God does not accept fingers crossed, but he expects honesty. An oath can not be given lightly. It should be reserved for the most solemn occasions, for solemn promises. Even governments recognize this by insisting on the provision of oaths for the case of marriage and before testifying before a court. But also, sometimes even less solemn, the believer is called to honesty -for your yes be yes; and not, is not. This is the responsibility of a faithful disciple of Christ.
1. Humans have the ability to lie.
2. God, the source of truth, can not lie and is the guardian of truth.
3. The oaths and vows are a legitimate part of worship.
4. Oaths should be provided only by the name of God. No creature can be the last witness of truth.
5. Oaths should not be made lightly or with reservations.
BIBLICAL PASSAGES FOR REFLECTION
Deuteronomy 10:20, 2 Chronicles 6: 22-23 Ezra 10: 5, Matthew 5: 33-37, James 5: 12.