[Papercut Press Publishing] 1999-08-03 - V: A Vow Religious

The Holy Alphabet Series

Proverbs 20:25 It is a snare for a man to say rashly, "It is holy!" And after the vows to make iniquity.

"A Vow religious, is a solem promise unto God, made by a fit person, of some lawful thing which is in his choice, to testifie his love and thankfulness, Deut. 23:21,22, Psal. 116:12," --Robert Port

"Oh Lord, if I just pass this one test, I will … Oh Lord, if you will just get me out of this mess I have gotten myself into, I will … " Vows, I theorize, we have all made. For starters, lets stop calling such bargains with God vows. They are not vows, they are pawns that we move on our board of life to attempt to convince God to help us out. Sometimes these emergency calls are vows that we take seriously, but often, they are quickly forgotten and never kept as promised.

Lets be careful and specific about what is in mind here when Port speaks of making a vow to God.

  1. It is a Solemn Promise. Solemnity is a word that brings to mind the sober, grave, and serious nature of the promise that is being made. The promise is done with due and proper consideration. The promise is absolute.

  2. Unto God. Vows are made between people, such as a contract between two people. But the vow Port speaks of is called "a vow religious". It is done, as if, in the presence of God.

  3. Made by a Fit Person. In order to make a vow you must be able to lift 100 pounds. Probably not what Port has in mind, but rather, he means fit in mind. And this is why I think those desperation vows are not really vows at all, but rather an attempt to bargain with God. A vow is solemn, well considered, and entered into with care and thought. That is what Port means by a fit person.

  4. Of Some Lawful Thing Which is in His Choice. A vow must be lawful. So we can't vow to only covet certain things, or only commit adultery with people we find unattractive, or to kill a certain public official because they vote this or that way. Such vows are absurd. They are no vows at all, but rather attempts to justify the sin we harbor in our hearts or practice in our conduct.

  5. To Testify His Love and Thankfulness. The end of the vow is to show our love and thankfulness to God for His love and mercy to us. A gracious heart feels it can't be bound tight enough to God. Therefore some, not only approve of the ways of God in their hearts, and desire to walk in those ways themselves, but also, issue promises to God as practical commands to and from their souls. Promises to serve and obey God are great, but vows to do so are more binding and stronger.

Vows are never taken flippantly, but always with care. Consider your marriage vows, I hope you considered carefully who you were saying them to and what you were promising. If you did, you know what it is to make a vow. If you have never taken vows seriously, know that God does take them seriously and He knows your hearts, actions, and motives better than you know them yourself. Let us treat this practice with great care. It would be better to never make a vow to God, than to make ten and fail to keep one.

Soli Deo Gloria,


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