Skip to main content

James 5:12: But Above All, My Brothers, Do Not Swear


James 5:12
[12] But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. (ESV)

Does it matter what we say? There seems to be a lack of truthfulness and integrity in many people when it comes to what they say. Some would say about a politician that you know he is lying because his lips are moving. God cares very much what we say. We are told not to swear. Now, this is going to need a bit more clarification.

By telling us not to swear, James is not talking about some of the crass cuss words that may come to your mind. He is talking about making promises to another person that you have no intention of keeping. By doing so, you are lying to your brother. This is a practice that was common in the Jewish community at the time James wrote this epistle.

"As Jesus did before him (Matt. 5:33–36; 23:16–22), James condemned the contemporary Jewish practice of swearing false, evasive, deceptive oaths by everything other than the name of the Lord (which alone was considered binding)."
- Dr. John MacArthur, MacArthur Study Bible Notes  

Perhaps you have known someone who claimed to be a fellow believer in Jesus Christ who made promises to you, but never kept them. This should never be the case. I know people who will not have a Christian work on their car or do construction work for them because they do not trust them. This is the opposite of how things should be.

If we truly belong to Christ we should be the most honest people anyone could meet. As James says, Our "yes" should mean "yes," and our "no" should mean "no." We are to reflect the very nature of God. One thing we know for certain about God is that he cannot lie. His Word is eternal and perfect. We can always trust him. We are to be like him.

Do you find yourself being dishonest with others? Ask the Lord to forgive you. He will help you to live a life of honesty and truthfulness. This will please him and bless others.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Romans 8:18: For I Consider That The Sufferings Of This Present Time Are Not Worth Comparing

Romans 8:18
[18] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (ESV)

Perspective. What an important word. Let's be honest. We do not like the idea of suffering. We will do almost anything to avoid any kind of suffering. Some churches have gone so far as to preach against the idea of suffering, declaring it to not be a part of the true believer's life. Paul is not shy about the topic.

Paul uses the sufferings of this present time as a means to consider the greater glory that awaits us. Perspective. Paul is not in any way attempting to diminish our suffering. A view toward eternity puts our suffering in a proper understanding. Yes, our suffering is terrible. In the grand scheme of eternity it is not even worth comparison.

Maybe you are thinking that Paul does not know what he is talking about when it comes to suffering. In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul describes countless beatings, often near death, being ston…

Romans 15:14: I Myself Am Satisfied About You, My Brothers

Romans 15:14
[14] I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. (ESV)

The Apostle Paul was a strong man. His words to the churches in all of his letters are full of doctrinal truth and instruction that are not for the faint of heart. In this letter to the church at Rome he had to correct them in their understanding of how to deal with issues that could potentially divide them. Paul had never even been to Rome yet. He had not met these believers.

Paul is telling the church at Rome in this verse that the reason they were able to receive his strong words was because of their spiritual maturity. He declares that they are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. This is an incredible compliment that Paul would not offer to every church.

This concept of being filled with goodness and knowledge speaks of a group of believers who had listened to the Word of…

Romans 15:16: To Be A Minister Of Christ Jesus To The Gentiles In The Priestly Service Of The Gospel Of God

Romans 15:16
[16] to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. (ESV)

The time of the Early Church was a time of great transition. Up until Christ coming and bringing redemption to all who believer the people of faith were the Jews. If you wanted to worship God the only appropriate way was to go through a priest who would offer sacrifices on your behalf to God. All of the sacrificial system was fulfilled in Christ. Now, there was a new way to righteousness.

This time of transition was a challenge for all involved. The Jews had to move from an approach to God that involved keeping the Law. The Law was fulfilled in Christ. Now the way of salvation was a way of faith. There were some traditional aspects that were now gone. It was hard for them to move away from their traditions. It is hard for all of us to move from our traditions.

For the Gentile convert…