God invites us to take His Name upon us, to be reconciled to Him and united with Him for the purpose of His glory and their blessedness. We must not take His Name in any way other than what will fulfill these purposes, and we must not vow empty or unwise vows in His Name.
“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”
“‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.’”
1 Corinthians 15.1, 2; 1 Corinthians 15.58; 2 Corinthians 6.1; Galatians 4.8-11; James 1.26
People often think of the Ten Commandments in negative terms: Don’t do this; don’t do that. Certainly that aspect is present in the Law of God, as a check against our naturally sinful inclinations.
But the Law of God is positive, teaching us how to love God and our neighbors (Matt. 22.34-30). Thus, we should learn to look at the Law from a more positive perspective. For example, how amazing is it that God invites us to “take” His Name upon ourselves? Who are we that we should be called the sons and daughters of God, that we should regard Him as our Father, and be destined to live forever with Him in a glorious eternity? Certainly we are not worthy of such a high privilege. Nevertheless, God invites us to take His Name, to embrace Him as our Father through the grace of His Son and the work of His Spirit, and to know, love, commune with, and serve Him.
He invites us to take His Name, but He commands us not to do so without understanding and submitting to His purposes for our lives. Unless we live as He intends, we can never know the full benefits of being His children. So let us take the Name of the Lord!
But let us not take it in vain.
This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.MyParuchia.com and click on our Book Store.