“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.” – Romans 1:8–10
Scripture reading: Romans 1
Paul thanks God. He doesn’t thank the church for their faith. Rome was an active church; they had an active faith. They were a mission-oriented church. They were worldly in a good sense as a light to the world.
Paul swears to God that He will serve this church, hopefully by coming to preach the gospel and in prayer. But isn’t swearing prohibited? Didn’t Jesus say that we cannot make oaths? If so, what are we to say about all the Old Testaments saints who swore? What about Jesus, Who often testified, “Truly, Truly, I say to you.” That is an oath formula. What about Paul who made several oaths in Acts and in his epistles? Jesus did not condemn oaths. He condemned the unlawful use of oaths. He condemned lying. In context, the Jews would swear by lesser things, other than Yahweh, by His throne or heaven. In their legalism they found a loophole to get out of oaths, “I don’t have to honor that agreement, because I didn’t swear by God’s name.” As it says in James 5, let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no. Jesus condemned lying. Oaths are proper and good. An oath is nothing else but an appeal to God that we are telling the truth, “So help me God.” That formula is important for it recognizes that vengeance belongs to the Lord. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Lord, “so tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”
Suggestions for prayer
Pray for your tongue that it speaks truth, justice, and peace.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Jared Beairdis the church planter and pastor of Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Missoula, Montana, USA.