Commands of Christ

Keep Your Word

Where is this command found?

“Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”

Matthew 5:37

Applying This Command

Have you ever heard of the saying, “A man is as good as his word”? This phrase has been coined to reflect the fact that a man’s character can be judged by whether or not he keeps his word. Just as this is so with man, God’s character is proven by His unfailing promises.

One of the clearest ways that God has demonstrated the command Keep Your Word, is by sending His Son, Christ Jesus, to be our Savior, Redeemer and Lord. Jesus was not only the fulfillment of many promises God had made to His people, but also, His life provides the power to fulfill each and every command God has given us. Jesus said of Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6b).

Just as God kept His Word by sending His Son, so we as believers have been given the power and ability to keep our word through the life of Jesus. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because we have been given a new nature; the nature of God through Jesus Christ. As we grow in this reality, we will not only be aware of our need to keep our word, but also that it is Christ Who only can enable us to do so.

Bible Verses for Meditation

In addition to meditation on Matthew 5:37, meditating on the verses below will provide you with further insight and understanding of Christ’s command: Keep Your Word.

Psalm 15:1–2, 4

“LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. … He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.”

Psalm 101:7

“He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.”

Exodus 20:16

“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

Ephesians 4:25

“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”

Ecclesiastes 5:4–5

“When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.”

Proverbs 10:19

“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.”

Psalm 19:14

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

Related Episodes

From the Podcast

Dive deeper into the command Keep Your Word with these episodes from the Commands of Christ podcast!

Study Question

Q: Why did God deliver Abraham and Sarah in spite of the lie they told Pharaoh and Abimelech, and yet destroy Ananias and Sapphira for the lie they told Peter?

A: In Scripture, two accounts of lying reveal important insights into the nature and consequences of not being completely truthful.

The first example is that of Abraham and Sarah. They agreed to lie about their relationship as husband and wife and instead tell people they were brother and sister.

Their lie produced plagues and distress in the households of Pharaoh and King Abimelech. What they did seemed to go unpunished, except for the rebukes of Pharaoh and Abimelech. They even acquired valuable gifts under the false pretense of their lies.

In comparison, the lie of Ananias and Sapphira seems insignificant. Their lie did not bring them money; they were simply not as generous as they wanted people to imagine that they were with the money they were giving to the work of the Lord. For their lie, God brought immediate death.

An initial reading of both accounts of lying might lead to the conclusion that God was lenient with Abraham and Sarah and harsh with Ananias and Sapphira. This is not true, because both were severely punished for their deceptions.

In some ways, Abraham and Sarah received the greater punishment, because the iniquity of their deception was passed on to their children and grandchildren. Abraham and Sarah told a “half-lie,” but their son, Isaac, went on to tell a full lie about his relationship to his wife. The deception practiced by Isaac was then practiced by Jacob, who deceived his father and stole Esau’s blessing by disguising himself. Jacob’s deception was then multiplied through his family. His sons deceived him by showing him Joseph’s coat of many colors, which they had stained with the blood of an animal, causing him to think that Joseph had been killed by a wild beast.

Had Abraham and Sarah sincerely repented of their deception, this would have motivated them to warn their descendants not to follow their example.

The accounts of Ananias and Sapphira and Abraham and Sarah illustrate the truth of Paul’s instruction to Timothy. “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after” (I Timothy 5:24). The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was immediately opened and judged. The iniquity of Abraham and Sarah followed after them and became more and more harmful with each generation. The longer a lie continues without exposure, the more destructive it becomes.

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