Day 10

Tell the Truth

from the The Sermon on the Mount reading plan


Matthew 5:33-37, Exodus 20:7, Ecclesiastes 5:4-7, Matthew 26:62-64, James 5:12

Last year, my 8-year-old son, Eli, was at a friend’s birthday party. Toward the end of the party, he ran over to me, sobbing uncontrollably. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me his friend had promised not to kill his player on a video game they had been playing; but unfortunately, his friend continued to do so. While I insisted that it was only a game, Eli looked at me and said with the deepest sincerity, “But, it’s not right to break a promise.”

This is actually one of the most important lessons of which the Scriptures constantly remind us. Whether it is the law of God (Exodus 20:7), the wisdom literature (Ecclesiastes 5:4-7), the Gospels, or the Epistles, there is no part of Scripture in which the Lord does not confront us with the call to be truth-loving, truth-speaking, and truth-acting people. The Savior sums up this important principle of Christian living when He says, “let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37).

Our society is one in which we are accustomed to breaking our vows. People treat marriage vows, church membership vows, and financial agreements with the greatest of flippancy. Ours is a society that will break our promises over the smallest and most insignificant of things. The lack of emphasis on this important subject makes a true theology of vow-taking and vow-keeping one of the greatest needs of our day.

That being said, vow-breaking is not something unique to our time. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, religious leaders in Israel constructed a complex system of getting out of vows. The Pharisees practiced subterfuge by actually using the name of God, and their service in His name, to release them from the obligation to keep the vows that they made. In doing so, they were functionally bringing the name of God into the service of their hypocrisy. This is why Jesus condemned all deceitful practice in vow-making to be “of the evil one.”

God is the God of truth. Jesus self-identified as “the Truth.” Therefore, all those who profess faith in Christ are to be truth-loving, truth-speaking, and truth-acting people. Even as we say this, we recognize our many failures in keeping the vows we have made. None of us has perfectly fulfilled all that we have said we would do.

The good news of the gospel is that the One who said, “I am the Truth,” was nailed to the tree for all the times we have spoken and lived deceitfully. His promise to forgive those who come to Him in repentance and faith is a sure and steadfast “Yes” because of His covenant faithfulness to His own promises (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Written by Nick Batzig

Post Comments (4)

4 thoughts on "Tell the Truth"

  1. Bryce says:

    Father, please help me to grow in sincerity in my words. Help me to say what I mean.

  2. T David Schuler says:

    Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is deceitful above all things. We lie because of selfish desires or because of insecurities. We do this impulsively, without thought and so easily get tangled in a web of deceit. I am guilty of this myself. Lord help me speak only truth, rid me of my selfish desires. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  3. Andrew says:

    Whether it is the law of God (Exodus 20:7), the wisdom literature (Ecclesiastes 5:4-7), the Gospels, or the Epistles, there is no part of Scripture in which the Lord does not confront us with the call to be truth-loving, truth-speaking, and truth-acting people. The Savior sums up this important principle of Christian living when He says, “let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37).

    For me, I am often tempted to break promises when I’m offended or wronged by someone. Moreover I’m very quick to relinquish a promise when a friend or even a family member breaks their word to me. “Oh you are going to blow off our appointment? Okay well I’m going to have a really busy schedule if you try to rain check”. It’s as if another’s moment of weakness gives me a hall pass of self-righteousness. However, I’m encouraged that the God who has never broken a promise lives in me. I’m very much going to fail in my own strength to always love, speak, and live out truth but it’s the Holy Spirit that enables and should get all the glory. It’s the Holy Spirit that enables me to have an initial reaction of fruit instead of pride, self-righteousness, anger, etc. It’s the Holy Spirit that retrains my heart and mind to react differently, to see differently, to listen differently, to act differently.

  4. Vinicius Marques says:

    I think our generation is a strong generation of “but”. We are so easy to agree to something, a vow, and then say “but”. We are so easy to get out and back out of things. A church membership, “but my pastor said this and I didn’t like it”. Even a marriage, “but my wife works to much, she’s never home, she doesn’t cook, blah blah blah”. There is always a “but” to the vows or promises we make. This is such a simple and important message to learn, when we agree to something, we should be there. “Let our yes be yes and let our no be no”. Such a simple and huge amazing lesson to learn from God!

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