But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
“Place your hand on the Bible and repeat after me” is a common phrase in a court of law as well as at the swearing in ceremonies of many public officials, but it is not at the heart of today’s verse—telling the truth is. Jesus Himself said that He was the “way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) and that the very reason He had come to earth was to “testify to the truth” (John 18:37). Truth is at the center of God’s character, and should be at the center of ours, as well.
Most of us tell the occasional “white lie,” and from time to time we might even tell a “whopper.” The Bible is brutally honest about the shortcomings of its many key characters. Abraham lied about Sarah. David lied about Bathsheba. Peter lied about knowing Jesus. What are you lying about?
For most of us, lying is simply a way to cover up our sin, as it has been since we were very young. Lying reveals the wickedness and deceptiveness of our hearts, and it will not go unpunished by God (1 Cor 3:15). No, we need not fear for our salvation, but we must be sober minded about the consequences of a lying tongue both in the here and now—relationships, trust, and witness—and with respect to future rewards in Heaven.
Author Gordon Clark once said, “Since God is truth, a contempt for truth is equally a contempt for God.” We must all strive to live lives that minimize the temptation to lie, while maximizing our ability to honor God with ALL of our words.