Grace Protestant Reformed Church

Our Use of the Oath

Date: AM
Text: Deuteronomy 23; Lord's Day 37
Psalters: 11, 144, 236, 65
Series: Heidelberg Catechism (2016-18)
  1. The idea.
    1. The setting for oaths are two things.
      1. One is God’s gift of communication.
      2. Two, oaths and vows arise because of man’s great proneness to lie, to be distrustful, and to be inconsistent.
    2. Oaths are promises which appeal to God to witness what we said/promised and to judge us if we fail.
      1. An oath puts God before the consciousness of man in three ways.
      2. A vow is a promise to do or not do something (as Nazarites, Num. 30:3).
  2. Oaths have a rightful place in the life of believers.
    1. Scripture commands us to swear by the name of God on certain occasions (Deut. 6:13).
    2. Scripture gives many examples of those who swore – examples we are commanded to follow.
    3. Jesus condemned the mis-use of oaths introduced by the Pharisees (Matt. 5:33-37).
  3. The proper use of oaths.
    1. Oaths ought not be the norm for a Christian.
    2. Sometimes they are necessary to settle controversies and put an end to strife (I Kings 8:31,32; Heb. 6:16).
    3. Oaths and vows do have a lawful place in the believer’s life. Four normal occasions for oaths: marriage, baptism, confession of faith, ordination into office.
    4. Let us live honestly in all our dealings in life and work.