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
Taking the Name of the Lord in vain is more than what we commonly think of when this commandment comes to mind. While misusing God’s Name in oaths and exclamations is certainly included under things proscribed by the third commandment, these are not the main issue.
We take God’s Name in vain when we fail to live up to our pedigree – when we fail to pursue good works as the expression of who we are in Christ and of our gratitude for His saving mercy. Taking God’s Name in vain is a bit like a batter in a baseball game who takes a bat from the rack, strolls to the batter’s box, then never lifts the bat off his shoulder and is called out on strikes.
God has given us His Name for a purpose, to bring about certain effects. We take His Name in vain when we fail to work out our salvation or become weary in doing good, so that good works that glorify God are not evident in our lives as they should be.
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.