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Promise Keeper

March 10, 2024—Have you ever made a promise to someone but could not keep it? Did you apologize to your friend, family, or colleague when you could not deliver on that promise? The truth is that most of us have done this sort of thing in our lives. Is breaking a promise or even starting an oath morally responsible?  If you can hold it, you better be sure of what your promise is and that you can keep it. If not, it is best not to let the words leave your mouth.


Should We Make Promises?

Ecclesiastes warns us to make good on what we have vowed to God. He also warns us that it is best not to make a promise you cannot keep (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5). These passages go on to say:


Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.

-        Ecclesiastes 5:6-7


If you make a promise and do not keep it, you have lied. By breaking your promise, you commit an offense against God, which is referred to as sin. By lying, you break the ninth commandment (Exodus 20:16 and Deuteronomy 5:20). Sin defiles the body, corrupts the spirit, and tears at the soul. Your body, spirit, and soul will be at war with one another, never making peace until you come to Christ. In John 14:7, Jesus gives His peace to His disciples.  In regards to making oaths, Jesus warned us not to do so:


But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.  Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

-        Matthew 5:34-37


You may ask yourself, “How will God know if I made a promise? How will He know what I say or do?” Any word you utter or action you make is known by God because He:

  1. Knows our hearts, and thoughts (Psalm 139:1-6, and 1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Chronicles 28:9)

  2. Hears what we say and pray (Ecclesiastes 4:6, 1 John 5:14-15)

  3. Sees what we do (Proverbs 15:3)

Our thoughts start in our hearts. Our thoughts and hearts perform the following steps—what we will say and do. Do not let your heart cause you to stumble, nor let it cause unjust anger, but let it lead to a contrite spirit. Contrite means you are remorseful for your actions against God. A contrite spirit pleases God that He listens to (Psalm 34:18, Psalm 51:17). So much so that God, through the Holy Spirit, dwells in such a spirit (Isaiah 57:15).

Now, I do not want you to be ignorant or fall victim to false doctrine. Therefore, I offer the knowledge of the fruit of the Holy Spirit as described in Galatians 5:22-23: 

  1. Joy

  2. Peace

  3. Longsuffering

  4. Kindness

  5. Goodness

  6. Faithfulness

  7. Gentleness

  8. Self-Control


The Holy Spirit can dwell anywhere. After all, the Holy Spirit is God, and God made everything (Genesis 1, Job 38). However, God chose to dwell in you through His promise of salvation. Before and after Jesus’s resurrection, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to help believers and dwell within us forever (John 14:16, John 16:7, John 20:22).


cross, dusk
A cross on an empty landscape. Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

God Keeps His Promise

Of physical and metaphysical beings, God is the only one out there Who is an authentic promise keeper. God includes the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. In Genesis 3:15, Satan’s defeat was promised through Jesus Christ:

And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”

God came in the flesh through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was born from a virgin named Mary (but she did not remain a virgin). That was the enmity because shortly after Jesus’s birth, Herod began killing all boys two years old and under in an attempt to destroy Jesus (Matthew 2:16-18). Herod failed in this attack because Joseph, Jesus’s earthly father, was warned to travel to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15).  Thirty-three years later, Jesus was crucified on the cross, which bruised Satan’s head but also bruised Jesus’s heel. Jesus was nailed to the cross at His feet and hands.


We see another reference to being bruised in the Holy Bible:

But He was wounded for our transgressions,He was bruised for our iniquities;The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,And by His stripes we are healed. 

-        Isaiah 53:5

We also see a reference to “Seed”:


Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;He has put Him to grief.When You make His soul an offering for sin,He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.

-        Isaiah 53:10

Finally, we see a reference to salvation:

He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,For He shall bear their iniquities.

-        Isaiah 53:11

Some of you may say, “Salvation is not referenced there.” This is true. We do not see the word of salvation in this passage. Yet, I urge you to see it by word and intent.


The Promise of Salvation

The crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ were necessary to pay our debt to God. What debt? Sin through death. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


You may be thinking, “I never sinned.”  The Holy Bible states otherwise, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  I mentioned lying as one of the Ten Commandments. How about the rest? Here are the summarized Ten Commandments:

  1. Serve only God

  2. Do not make a carved image or anything and bow down or serve it

  3. Do not blaspheme against God

  4. Keep the Sabbath (work for six days and rest on the Sabbath)

  5. Honor your mother and father

  6. Do not murder

  7. Dot not commit adultery

  8. Do not steal

  9. Do not lie

  10. Do not be jealous

-        Exodus 20: 1-17, and Deuteronomy 5:1-21)

Have you kept all of these?  I know for a fact that you have not. Some of you may be thinking, “I do not believe in Jesus Christ, nor God or the Holy Spirit. Therefore, sin does not apply to me.”


It certainly does. Everyone will be judged and will give an account of their actions and thoughts (Isaiah 45:23, Matthew 25:41, Philippians 2:10-11, and Romans 14:10-11). By believing in Jesus Christ and repenting, you are saved and promised heaven (eternal life). Everyone else will be condemned. Many people are in condemnation now because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior (John 3:18).


Accepting Jesus

When you die, you can either account for your sins by yourself or have Jesus Christ take your sins on the cross. You cannot have Jesus Christ advocate for you if you do not accept Him as your Savior. All that you need to do is say this prayer aloud:

God, I confess that Jesus came in the flesh and blood, paid the price for my sins, died on the cross, rose on the third day, ascended to the heavens, and sent the Holy Spirit to help me understand Your ways. For that, I accept Jesus Christ as my savior and Lord, and I welcome the Holy Spirit in my life. In Jesus’s name I pray, amen!



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