Saturday, January 24, 2009

Exhortation- Third Commandment

Exodus 20:7 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.

When we think of this commandment, we tend to think in terms of someone using the word God or Jesus, or Christ, or Jesus Christ as epithets, swear words. Certainly, that is using the Lord’s names in vain. I condemn that kind of usage wholeheartedly. But we err if we think this sort of thing is the main or the worse form of taking the Lord’s name in vain.

I think we often have a psychological need to be able to blame others for committing sins so that we do not notice ourselves committing the same sins, and worse. When unbelievers dishonor the Lord by swearing with His name, it is not nearly so grievous a sin as when Christians use the Lord’s name in vain. This is true because when we take the Lord’s name in vain, it is something far worse than simply saying words that are course or foul; or using good words as foul words; words like God or Jesus.

Taking the Lord’s name in vain has to do with taking the Lord’s name upon us as a covenant member and then breaking the terms of the covenant. Most everyone in this room is a baptized believer. You have had God’s name placed upon you. You have taken His name. So, this commandment tells you not to use it in a vain way. Do not call yourself a Christian and then live as if you were a heathen. Do not use the Lord’s name to gain advantage in business or influence if you are not really living for and honoring the Lord. We see politicians pander to Christians all the time, using Bible words and claiming to be Christians, when their main or only desire is to get votes or get influence. This deceit is taking the Lord’s name in vain.

We also take the Lord’s name in vain when we put on a show of spirituality but are not living as we profess. We are telling a lie, on purpose, in order to be seen as men, women and children in good standing with the Lord, when we know that we are not so. We have a simple name for this, hypocrisy. This is taking the Lord’s name in vain.

The Lord gives us warning. He will not hold us guiltless who take His name in vain. Do not attempt to lie to God. Remember Ananias and Saphira? Do not play the game of trying to look the part when you do not live like a Christian. Do not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

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