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Read Introduction to James


“But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.”


But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,”

Anything other than straightforward speech is outside the will of God.  Lies are chronic to men.  They get this habit from their father, the father of lies.

Jn 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

The reason we need oaths in courts of laws is to compel people to declare where they stand based on their word legally set forth.  On the other hand, Christians do not need an oath process to verify their word. 

lest you fall into judgment

We invite God’s judgment to ourselves if we behave contrary to straightforward speech.  The believer will fall into divine chastening if he brings God into a false oath. 

Ex. 20:7, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”

The following passage shows how the believer falls into divine discipline:

Death, 5:14-15

Loss of health, 5:16


We need to guard our speech to maintain integrity. 


The Christian should not go to the extent of imploring a divine being to sanction the truthfulness of what he says.  His words should be honest and straightforward.  This is why James commands his readers to stop swearing by oaths.  People with integrity do not need to swear by an oath because, having kept their word in the past, people believe what they say.

God’s concern is how we communicate in our ordinary conversations.  In times of duress and stress, it is easy to make a false pledge.  God desires that we be genuine in what we say rather than attaching a rash promise to our statement.  Integrity should always guard our speech.