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In the Gates

Do not take the LORD’s name in vain

The Third Commandment

Do not take the LORD’s name in vain


3.2 Fulfill your vows

Since the vows we take in some ways mirror the covenant oath of the Lord, we must be careful to fulfill all our vows; we may only be released from vows by proper authorities.

Numbers 30.1, 2

Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, “This is what the LORD has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.”

Deuteronomy 23.21-23; Ecclesiastes 5.4-6

The last section of the third commandment concerns vows. A vow is a solemn pledge to the Lord, typically made in gratitude for or anticipation of some promised blessing, and declaring one’s resolve to perform certain tasks as expressions of faith and thanksgiving. Think: marriage vows.

Since vows are made to the Lord they must be fulfilled. Oaths – such as you might take in a court of law – are also taken unto the Lord and require the telling of truth or the performance of some promised duty.

God is faithful to His Word at all times. He cannot lie, and His truth does not fail. We cannot rightly take His Name upon us unless our word is as good as His, particularly when sworn to or before Him in the presence of others.

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to and click on our Book Store.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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