The old testament

7 You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold guiltless anyone who takes his name in vain. Exodus 20:7, NET©

Most people think that we are not supposed to curse God with verbal blashemis. But the third commandment is way stronger than that, we shall not take God’s name vain. What does it mean to take the name in vain?

One way to take the name of God in vain, is to use it as an expletive instead of using profane cussing. Another way is to talk about God in a way that is degrading God, or simply without any respect for who he is. That is vain use of the name of God.

In the new testament

In the new testament, the understanding of misusing the name of God is much broader.

34 But I say to you, do not take oaths at all– not by heaven, because it is the throne of God, 35 not by earth, because it is his footstool, and not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. Matthew 5:34-35, NET©

As in the old testament, we should not misuse the name of God in a mindless way. Moreover, we are supposed not to take the name of God in vain by swearing by the name. Neither are we supposed to take oaths, best is if we don’t take oaths at all if we, perhaps would break them. We are also supposed no to swear by the heavens or the earth either. The name of God should always be used with respect, not in a careless way, or as a nonsense word.

How do we live?

1 Those who are under the yoke as slaves must regard their own masters as deserving of full respect. This will prevent the name of God and Christian teaching from being discredited1 Timothy 6:1, NET©

As representatives of God on earth, we need to realize, that our lifestyle is a witness. It is important to note, that calling our selves the children of God, and then misbehave, will discredit God. That is to say, we should live in such a way, that the name of God has a good reputation. If we have an authority over us, in this world, such as the boss at work, our actions bear witness of who we are. Therefore we should be reliable and trustworthy, and good ambassadors to the kingdom of God.

Have you discredited God?

Then you need to confess your sin and pray God for his forgiveness. Then you will watch your tongue, think about how you behave, and always keep the name of God at mind.

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