Thursday, December 29, 2005

Telling the Truth in Matthew 5:33-37

If religious leaders during the time of Jesus were going to play with making oaths in such a way that the name of God was taken in vain and truth was ignored, then why should they be allowed to swear at all? Treating the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit needs to be extremely important for the Christian. Telling the truth is extremely important for the Christian as well. If people who know us well see us telling the truth at all times, what a reputation we will have! But what kind of reputation will we have if we are constantly late for meetings with friends? What kind of reputation will we have if we are constantly coming up with excuses for why we did not do what we said we were going to do?

If we want others to keep their committments, we should be extremely careful to keep ours as well. And when we are people of our word, we will not have to make statements like, "I promise" or "I really mean it this time" because those who know us will not require anything more than a simple statement of fact.

"I will do it." That is all that we should have to say.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The name of God

It is tempting to look at these religious leaders during the time of Jesus and say, "Wow, am I glad that I am not like that!" But is there any way that you are like these religious leaders who apparently were guilty of taking God's name in vain and guilty of being dishonest in their dealings with others?

People who call themselves Christians sometimes use the name of God in a flippant manner. Do you ever tell jokes that have the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit in the joke? Do you ever flippantly say, "Oh my ...."? Do you catch yourself using the name of God in the same way that you would your father, sister, or even your dog?

God is special. The names of the members of the Trinity are special. Their names are holy. Their names are specially set aside for special honor. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit make it very clear in their Word, that the cheap use of their names can lead to disaster. For that matter, the only commandment that states that God will not hold the person guiltless for breaking a command is the command that makes it abundantly clear that we have absolutely no business taking the name of God in vain.

Do you love the Triune God? Then show your love for Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by showing love and respect for their names.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Swearing an oath and gameplaying

By the time Jesus comes on the scene, religious leaders had come up with a game called "Breaking Oaths for Dummies". If a person swore that he would do something, he just might not have to keep the oath if he swore by the right thing. If he swore the same oath by something else however, he WOULD have to keep the oath.

Do you see anything like this in the Old Testament? Of course not. All oaths were oaths that were to be kept. All oath swearing was oath swearing to God.

Therefore, if someone swore by his head, the temple, the gold in the temple, or the heavens, that oath needed to be kept because all oath swearing invoked the name of God. This invoking of the name of God when someone swore an oath was either explicit or implicit, but God's name was always there.

When religious leaders during the time of Jesus taught that one could swear an oath that need not be kept because of what the person was swearing by, this was ridiculous because all oaths involved the name of God, even if the name of God was not explicitely used. All oaths needed to be kept.

Oath swearing was and is very serious. Honesty and the name of God are serious things. Leaders of the saints during the time of Jesus should have known better, but instead of teaching people the truth, they encouraged dishonesty and the taking of God's name in vain. If this was their way of doing things, they should not swear at all.