“Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance. For example, there was God’s promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in his own name, saying:
“I will certainly bless you, and I will multiply your descendants beyond number.”
Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.
Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:11-20 (NLT)
This short passage in Hebrews is overflowing with profound examples of what it means to give your word or make a promise. A long time ago, prior to the need for legal contracts in which people look for excuses to alleviate the commitments they made; an individual’s word had significance. When someone gave their word and shook hands it was considered a binding pledge or vow; however, society has changed immensely. While it is true that society has changed, the Word of God has never changed and it is the Word of God that defines our lives as Christians and not the standards determined by society. God’s Word is a covenant contract sealed with the blood of Jesus which leads us to the inner sanctuary of God who hears not only our spoken words but the very cries of our hearts.
Once again, God is commanding us to follow his example that giving our word is a binding oath and reminding us that his word is an undisputable fact which will come to fruition. The first example of course is his love for us which is unchanging, and he promises we will inherit his kingdom. This example is an undisputable fact because God swore to us in an oath that he made in his own name and there is no greater name in heaven, on earth or under the earth. We can stand on this truth, as it is written in verses 16 and 17, that without question his oath is binding and he will not change his mind because it is impossible for God to lie. Since, God made this oath, we have an anchor of hope to steady us and hold us firm as we are tossed about by the storms of this life. It is as we begin to trust in God’s unchanging Word that we become strong entering into his inner sanctuary of rest.
Consider for a moment that each time you read, speak, sing, teach, preach, confess and/or proclaim God’s Word you are not only reminding him of his commitment to us but are also making an oath to him. It is a covenant relationship because it is sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ himself and this makes it even more obligatory; a legal contract sealed in heaven by his blood.
“ For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him,
“The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow:
‘You are a priest forever.’”
Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God.” Hebrews 7:19-22 (NLT)
What are we doing when we pray, when we confess our faith through the Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed, sinner’s prayer or covenants of baptism, communion and marriage? Is it mere ritual or does it carry weight in heaven, on earth and under the earth? Are there eyewitnesses involved here, like people, angels, demons, a great cloud of witnesses, and above all God himself? Who is listening when we speak to our spouses, children, friends, coworkers, neighbors or anyone else? What kind of impact do our unseen words, thoughts and even attitudes have on the world around us and do they really affect our destiny? Does God really hold us accountable?
These are all rhetorical questions designed to prompt us to consider the implications of the words we speak and how they influence our daily lives and the surrounding environment. Read the words of the Apostles Creed and contemplate the confession you are making with your mouth allowing it to penetrate your heart knowing that everyone around you; human, angel, demon, every created thing and God himself are witnessing our confession and bask in God’s promises of eternal life.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Creator of Heaven and Earth
And in Jesus Christ
His only Son, Our Lord
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit
Born of the Virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilate
Was crucified, died and was buried.
On the third day, he rose again
He ascended into Heaven
and is seated at the right hand
of God, the Father Almighty.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Catholic Church,
the Communion of Saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.