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Word of promise

James, once again, returns to the topic of the use of the tongue. He issues a warning not to use an oath lightly, “so that you will not sin and be condemned.” Also, James is taking from the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. “‘But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King…Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one’” (Matthew 5:34-35, 37). It has been the practice of the Jews to use nonbinding oaths to strengthen their statements. The Lord Jesus Christ criticizes such practice for they were given a command. “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name” (Exodus 20:7). But in order for them not to appear violating the command, they swore “by heaven or earth or anything else.” Again, such practice is denounced by God. What God is asking His followers and also reiterated by James from the text is to be honest and be consistent in speaking the truth. Ignoring this admonition will lead to God’s judgment. God does not want us to be careless in the use of words. This is also the reason why Jesus also warned the religious leaders in His time. “And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you” (Matthew 12:36-37). The same warning applies to every believer.



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