The Ten Commandments are among the best known biblical teachings all over the world.
Many of us know them. But do we know them?
For example, Exodus 20: 7 says: “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” The older King James Version here says to not take God’s name “in vain.” It is treating God’s name as if it was empty or without value.
In the early 1700’s, Matthew Henry, the well-known biblical commentator, said that using God’s name in vain was to use it “lightly and carelessly, and without any regard to its awful significancy.” (When he says “awful” he means “awe-inspiring.”)
Through time, it has often been equated with swearing. If someone says “Oh my God” or “Jesus Christ” when they’re not actually talking about God or Jesus then they’re using the Lord’s name “in vain.”
But there are broader—and perhaps even more concerning—misuses of his name. These would include saying we’re Christians when we could care less what Jesus did or didn’t say, or attributing words or ideas to God that aren’t his. For example, if I tell people that “God just wants everyone to be happy all the time,” I’m using his name falsely. I’m telling someone something about God that isn’t true.
So speak truthfully about God.
God is our richest source of blessing! He has created us and given our lives purpose. In Christ, he has adopted us into his family, forgiven our sin, renewed us, and saved us. He provides for us and guides us through life, nourishing us with an endless supply of love, wisdom, strength and hope.
Why would we ever want to misrepresent him or drag his name through the mud? You’re right—we don’t!
“For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God” (Psalm 86:10).
Speak truthfully about God.
By Matthew Ruttan
—This Sunday I’m teaching about “not losing your marbles” as we seek to have the peace of Christ. You are welcome to tune in to YouTube here at 10:01am to follow along with worship.
–“Up!” is published 5 days a week (Monday-Friday) and returns on July 20.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.