“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain;
for the Lord will not hold him guiltless
that taketh his name in vain.”
On the surface, the 3rd love commandment seems to ONLY be about using the Lord’s name as a curse word. You know, using any form of His name in a sentence (like God, Lord, Jesus, or Jesus Christ) — usually when upset! — when not intending to talk about Him. Oh, but the 3rd love commandment is about SO much more than just that! Let’s take a look.
The commandment says, “do not TAKE the Lord’s name in VAIN”. The important words here are “take” and “vain”. The Hebrew word for “take” means: to bear, carry, or lift up. And the Hebrew word for “vain” means: worthlessness, vanity, or falseness. In other words, “Taking the Lord’s name in vain” means to carry, or lift up His name (meaning to profess to know and worship God) in falseness or worthlessness! How is this done? By not keeping the other 9 LC! This is exactly what Jesus was talking about when he said to certain of the Scribes and Pharisees: “Ye hypocrites, for well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. For in VAIN they do worship me …” (Matthew 15:7-9).
Let me be crystal clear on this … someone disobeying the 3rd love Commandment is someone who claims to be religious, yet lives in willfully disobedience to God’s 10LC. They claim to be God’s child, but by their lawless (or love-less) thoughts, words, and deeds, they prove they are not. They carry God’s name in falseness! They lift up God’s name in worthlessness! The writer of Proverbs confirmed this by saying, “Lord, don’t let me steal, and thereby take your name in vain” (Proverbs 30: 9).
Listen, about 98% of the world’s population today claim they “believe in God”. But what they don’t understand is … “God is Spirit” (John 4:24) and “God is love” (I John 4:8). Subsequently, the Creator God is the “Spirit of love”. So when people go around professing they “believe in God” but then willfully disobey His 10LC in their daily life, they blaspheme His name. They say they know Him, but by their sinful (love-less) deeds they prove they do not! This is why the Apostle John wrote: “And hereby we do know that we know him, IF we keep his (10 love) commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:3-4).
So to keep the sin-dominos analogy going … those who disobey God’s 1st love commandment (become prideful by making themselves God of their own life) push over the first sin domino, which then hits the second sin domino, where they fuel that pride by disobeying God’s 2nd love commandment (idolizing the materialistic world), which then pushes over the third sin domino, where they begin blaspheming God’s (or love’s) name — taking His name in vain! — by doing even more love-less thoughts, words, and deeds.
The Apostle Paul knew all of this too, and it was the reason he wrote what he did to the Jews in Romans chapter two. Read the whole chapter in context sometime and notice how Paul condemns Jews who acknowledge God with their lips, but then by their sinful lifestyle (disobeying of 10LC) reject Him. Paul wrote: “For the name of God (love) is blasphemed among the gentiles through you” (Romans 2:24). Listen to his words in the Living Bible: “Yes, you (Jews) teach others — then why don’t you teach yourselves? You tell others not to steal — but do you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adultery — but do you do it? You say, “Don’t pray to idols,” and then make money your god instead. You are so proud of knowing God’s laws, but you dishonor him by breaking them. No wonder the Scriptures say that the world speaks evil of God because of you” (Romans 2:21-24). Wow, could it be any clearer?
Now, on the other hand, true blessing, worshipping, praising, and glorifying of God’s name takes place in a person’s life as they go about keeping God’s 10LC on a daily basis. This is how a person praises the Lord! This is how a person TRULY honors (or lifts up) God’s name (or Love’s name) in truth! In other words, THIS is how a person obeys God’s 3rd love commandment by NOT taking God’s name in vain. In John’s gospel, Jesus likened obeying the 10LC to “bearing (good) fruit” and said: “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much (good) fruit; so shall ye be my disciples … If ye keep my (10 Love) commandments” (John 15:8-10). Do you see it? Thinking, speaking, and doing deeds of “love” glorifies God’s (or Love’s) name. Never forget this powerful truth!
Yes, God’s highest name is LOVE. If you confess or profess His name in any form, yet live in willful sin (disobedience to God’s 10LC) you disobey God’s 3rd love commandment by “taking His name in vain”. You literally blaspheme God’s Holy Spirit through your love-less deeds. And for this, just like the commandment warns, God will NOT hold you guiltless on Judgment Day (Exodus 20:7)! You WILL suffer eternal punishment! THIS is what prompted Jesus to utter: “But unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall NOT be forgiven” (Luke 12:10).
So please control your tongue and don’t curse God, but always lift up his name in righteousness and holiness. “The Lord knoweth them that are his … Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity (sin)” (II Timothy 2:19).
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