The Ten Commandments
The Holiness of God's Name
12 February 2017
A lawyer once asked Jesus what he had to do to be righteous (Matt. 23). Jesus replied by summarising our duty to God and man in the ten commandments. Viewing the commandments purely as "you shall not" misses the positive command - to love God and man.
We can tend to view the commandments as only negative prohibitions, and not positive permissions. The third commandment, "you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain," extends beyond using His name as a curse. Jesus instructed us to pray, "hallowed be Thy Name" (Matt. 6:9). The name of the Lord is to be understood as all that God is or does - how then can we take it lightly? In the life of a believer, the Lord's name is to be revered in action, thought, and speech. How do we treat "the name of the Lord your God?"
To take God's name in vain is to invoke it in wrongly. It is to have a life that does not match our confession; it is to use God's name lightly, or in jest; it is slandering those made in God's own image. As Christians, we are called to uphold, and not tear down the name of the God who saved us.
The third commandment says that "the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain." God is just, and will certainly, and justly punish sin (Matt. 12:36).