This morning we examine the proper and improper swearing of oaths and vows. Though it may at first appear from the text that the swearing of all oaths is forbidden, we see from other Scriptures that it is only the swearing of sinful, false, foolish, or otherwise blasphemous oaths that is wrong. We also see that swearing of oaths is taken very seriously in Scripture - swearing by any other person than God or by any object amounts to idolatry or blasphemy and is breaking the Third Commandment. It was punishable by death in the Old Testament times.

Properly taken, oaths are an act of worship, since we are calling upon God to witness our action or declaration, and the rightful taking of oaths is commanded by God through teaching and by His example. Oath-taking was a regular part of the Israelites’ culture and remains important to this day.

We are called upon to review the vows and oaths we have made (e.g. in becoming church members, in marriage, in baptism) and consider whether we have been faithful to keep them. When we find we have broken our vows and oaths, we should prayerfully confess the sin and repent of it.

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Shaun Bryant

Shaun has been Pastor at Grace Church in Modesto since late 1993. His journey to the fellowship took him through churches of various persuasions, during which time he became convinced of a call to the ministry and also of a Reformed view of the Scriptures. Shaun completed his studies for the ministry at Westminster Seminary in California. He is married with 3 children.

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