Christian morals

 

 

28. When I was a little girl and till not many years ago (now I am 24 years old) I often made vows or promises to God to force myself to improve (even for ridiculous things; for instance, I promised to God not to eat much in order to lose weight). Now I don’t remember these promises, but my pastor has told me that he can make void my vows. I probably (I say probably because I am not sure about it) promised to God I would stop wearing make up little by little (I know that to you wearing make up is a sin, but according to my pastor it is not a sin!). I want to know if my pastor can make void this vow or promise as well! Obviously, my pastor told me he can.

 

 

Now, first of all I want to give a brief introduction. It is not wrong to make vows to the Lord, what is wrong is to make vows and then not to pay them, for the law says: “When you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you. But if you abstain from vowing, it shall not be sin to you. That which has gone from your lips you shall keep and perform, for you voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth” (Deuteronomy 23:21-23 – NKJV). Therefore, making vows is not contrary to the sound doctrine. The apostle Paul made a vow, as it is written: “He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow” (Acts 18:18 – NKJV).

After this brief yet necessary introduction - keeping in mind that you are a believing woman and thus a new creature in Christ, and that wearing make up is wrong (whether for a woman or for a man) – I will answer your question about your vow, according to which you have promised to God not to wear make up any longer. If you have promised to God not to wear make up any longer, you have promised to God to do a right thing, which is proper for a woman who is in Christ, therefore you must keep the promise you have made, otherwise you will be guilty in the sight of God. Can your pastor make void your vow? No, he can’t. For according to the law, the only persons who can nullify the vows made by a woman are her father, in case she is still living in her father’s house, and her husband in case she marries after she makes a vow or she makes a vow while she is living with her husband. Here is what the law says: “If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. Or if a woman makes a vow to the Lord, and binds herself by some agreement while in her father’s house in her youth, and her father hears her vow and the agreement by which she has bound herself, and her father holds his peace, then all her vows shall stand, and every agreement with which she has bound herself shall stand. But if her father overrules her on the day that he hears, then none of her vows nor her agreements by which she has bound herself shall stand; and the Lord will release her, because her father overruled her. If indeed she takes a husband, while bound by her vows or by a rash utterance from her lips by which she bound herself, and her husband hears it, and makes no response to her on the day that he hears, then her vows shall stand, and her agreements by which she bound herself shall stand. But if her husband overrules her on the day that he hears it, he shall make void her vow which she took and what she uttered with her lips, by which she bound herself, and the Lord will release her. Also any vow of a widow or a divorced woman, by which she has bound herself, shall stand against her. If she vowed in her husband’s house, or bound herself by an agreement with an oath, and her husband heard it, and made no response to her and did not overrule her, then all her vows shall stand, and every agreement by which she bound herself shall stand. But if her husband truly made them void on the day he heard them, then whatever proceeded from her lips concerning her vows or concerning the agreement binding her, it shall not stand; her husband has made them void, and the Lord will release her. Every vow and every binding oath to afflict her soul, her husband may confirm it, or her husband may make it void. Now if her husband makes no response whatever to her from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or all the agreements that bind her; he confirms them, because he made no response to her on the day that he heard them. But if he does make them void after he has heard them, then he shall bear her guilt. These are the statutes which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, and between a father and his daughter in her youth in her father’s house” (Numbers 30:2-16 - NKJV).

But I want to tell you something else. Not to wear make up is a command of God that every woman in Christ must keep anyhow; therefore, whether you promise to God not to make up any longer or you don’t make this promise to God, you are to stop wearing make up in order to perfect holiness in the fear of God. I will explain to you this concept by giving you an example. Let us suppose that a woman before her conversion was a prostitute, that is, a woman who used to sell her body, it is evident that after her conversion she does not need to promise to God that she will not sell her body any longer, because her body became the temple of the Holy Spirit and she is not allowed to prostitute herself any longer, whether she vows to give up prostituting herself or not. But I give you another example. The Scripture commands us not to steal; shall we vow to give up stealing? What’s the use of making such a vow, when we as children of God must not steal anyhow? What I mean is this: a Christian does not need to make certain vows because he is bound to do certain things anyhow, that he may please God.

On the contrary, if a Christian vows to give up something the Scripture does not command him to give up, for instance his hair (as in the case of Paul who – as we saw before – had his hair cut off for he had taken a vow), the matter is completely different.

However, it seems to me that you are not sure at all that you made such a vow to God, therefore I can’t say that you have made this particular vow. But if you make such a vow, I exhort you to keep it.

I conclude by quoting the following words of Solomon: “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed – better not to vow than to vow and not pay. 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 5:4-7 - NKJV)

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