With An Oath, We Have Made Ourselves Debtors

For to Him, by ratifying the promises with an oath, we have made ourselves debtors, and if we break a promise so ratified, we have not lied unto men only but unto God

Matthew Henry commentary to the Gospel according to Matthew 5:33-36

Have you noticed how many different promises have you given today?

I am sure you have promised something to someone today. That is part of our day-to-day life. Politicians give promises to their electorate. The latter gives promises to be a good citizens. We give promises to our business partners and clients. Employees give promises to their employers and vice versa.

We oath a promise allegedly we control the future result of it.

Perhaps, you promised your parents to finally clean up the mess in your bedroom. Maybe, you promised your kids to take them on a picnic. Probably, you promised to your husband to spend less on shopping. Surely, you are the husband who promised her wife to bring her out on a date.

Yet, nobody kept their promises. Why?

It is either the words of the one who gives an oath worth nothing, or the person to whom it was sworn worth nothing.


23 That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth. // Deuteronomy 23:23 KJV


God rules over the earth. He sees and hears everything. No thought that rests in the mind of a man, no word that comes out of his mouth can be hidden from God’s ears. Oath given to a man, given in the presence of God, thus it is given to God Himself. (Please, check the weekly insight about God’s Promises)

Although, king Herod Antipas was not the one who knew God, however an oath was a question of his own reputation.

Both, Matthew and Mark, gave us a narrative about the murder of John the Baptist (read Matthew 14:3-12 or Mark 6:14-29).

Because John said to Herod, that it was unlawful to have his brother Philip’s wife, Herod wanted to put him to death. But he feared the multitudes, for they counted John the Baptist as a prophet.

It was not Herod (in some sense), who murdered John the Baptist, but the oath what he gave without thinking twice. Moreover, Herod was sorry about his oath that he gave to his niece. But for the oath’s sake he kept his promise. And to save his own reputation he satisfied the demand of his brother’s daughter to bring on the plater the head of John the Baptist.

Even though vows are always a voluntary act, once made, are binding (see Numbers 30; Ecclesiastes 5:2-6). We are accountable before God to keep our promises, because God keeps His promises always. He desires from us to imitate His moral character.


This is the time for your journaling. Reflect on these questions. Ask the Holy Spirit to test your faith and your walk with Christ.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? — 2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV
  1. How many vows did you promised?
  2. What was the last one?
  3. Have you kept your word?
  4. Why it is important to keep your oath?


Dear Heavenly Father, we praise and glorify Your name above all other names. We thank You, Lord, that You keep Your promises: that You kept Your promise to save us, sinners, from eternal damnation; that you keep You promise to give eternal life to those who believe, that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. We know, that You, Lord Jesus, will keep Your promise regarding Your imminent return and finial judgement. We pray, that the Holy Spirit, which lives in us will keep us accountable for every word that comes out of our mouths. May the Holy Spirit guide us and draw us near to You.

All these we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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