The Name of God

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.

Exodus 20:7    

Why did God give us the Ten Commandments?  

God did not give us the Ten Commandments for our salvation, as in “Keep these commandments in order to be saved.”  That would be futile, for no one would be saved.  Thankfully salvation has always been by the grace of God.  It has always been God’s work for man, not man’s work for God.  

So why did God give us the Ten Commandments?  Three reasons.  First, the Ten Commandments (and all 613 commandments in the Mosaic Law) reveal the nature and character of God.  Implicitly, by the nature of these commandments, we see that God is holy, that God is good, that God is wise, that God is just, that God is sovereign.  The Ten Commandments reveal God’s character.  

Second, the Ten Commandments reveal to us how to live our lives well.  These commandments are God’s gift to us, given for our good, to guide us and protect us.  

Third, the Ten Commandments reveal our sin.  They show us that we fall short of God’s perfection, that we could never be good enough to please a holy God and save ourselves, and that we need a Savior.  The law leads us to Christ.  

The third commandment concerns the name of God.  Do not misuse God’s name.  Do not profane God’s name.  Do not take God’s name in vain.  

This commandment carries several implications.  First of all, don’t use God’s name as profanity.  Don’t take God’s holy name and use it to give voice to your unholy feelings.  Honor God’s name because to honor God’s name is to honor God.  

A second implication:  Don’t swear falsely in God’s name.  Don’t use God’s name in an oath to make a false statement.  

There is a third implication.  The Hebrew term carries the connotation of “unreality.”  Here’s the point:  Do not treat God as if he is unreal, as if he did not exist, as if he were not present with you.  Never live your life as if God didn’t exist, for God does exist.  He is right here with you.  Live your life in the presence of God.  Live your life in the awareness of the presence of God.  

If you do, if I do, I imagine that it would change how we live.  

God is real.  God is here.  Practice the presence of God.