“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” (Matthew 5:34-36).
William Barclay once observed, “Far too often people use the most sacred language in the most meaningless way. They take the sacred names upon their lips in the most thoughtless and irreverent way” (Matthew, volume 1, p. 159).
Mr. Barclay’s observation—published in 1975—is exactly what Jesus included in His first century condemnation.
Corrupt words and idle phrases which employ holy things in profane, worthless ways—i.e. profanity, slang, euphemisms, and frivolous oaths—are sinful. It is impossible to be righteous before God with a mouth which pours forth unrighteous references to sacred things.
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:35-37).