Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Broken promises

Matthew 5:33-37…

We have all said things we didn’t really mean. Or said things we thought we meant but actually didn’t understand. Or said things we wish we hadn’t said. Or said things we wish we could take back. Or made promises we thought we could keep but couldn’t. On and on, we have all made mistakes with our mouth. Many make vows, but few are actually faithful (Proverbs 20:6).

Taking an oath was a ceremonial way of vouching for your character. Jesus’ point is that if our yes is yes and our no is no consistently, the evident integrity of our lives will prove our trustworthiness. This is about being faithful, even when it hurts to do so (Psalm 15:4), and about not being frivolous (James 5:12). Paul put people under oaths (1 Thessalonians 5:27), and he made vows as well (Acts 18:18, 21:23). The point is: do what you say.

Look at the narrowing progression; heaven, earth, Jerusalem, your own head. Jesus is telling us not to go beyond your authority, don’t get out of control, but live with integrity. People want other people to believe what they say, and they will make great boasts of their intended fidelity to some cause, whether it is for Christ or some other noble thing. But here Jesus is saying that trying to prove it with a promise is just about your pride.

People often make claims to pay you back, when you know they won’t. People charge into the church house, vowing to be victorious over some sin forever, or plead that they will now do right where they have mostly done wrong on some score. But we have all failed at some things we thought we wouldn’t fail at, and failed to achieve what we said we would achieve, or thought we could achieve. Jesus doesn’t want us to boast of how we are going to do something; He just wants us to do it. It’s not about the promise it’s about the performance.

These extraordinary explanations of the deeper, spiritual sense of the Law point to Jesus Christ. Your inner hero must die. Jesus is the only one who has never broken a promise. God will help you get holy, but Jesus must be the hero of your story, not you (Galatians 2:19-21).

1 comment:

Even So... said...

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