This summer we’ve been studying the Ten Commandments. The third commandment reads: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold you guiltless who take his name in vain.”
The verb take comes from a Hebrew word tisa which means to carry. Therefore the commandment should read: “Do not carry God’s name in vain.”
The commandment not only refers to our speech but also to our conduct. Most times we do not think of that. We think that if my language is free of misusing God’s name that I am keeping the commandment. Though we may think that, it is not true. The verb carry changes the entire way we see the commandment.
Are we aware of carrying God’s name when we are around people at home, school, work or friends? If they know that we are Christians how do they see us act? Remember in Matthew 5:16 Jesus says “…Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” This verse is self explanatory. Our light is the glory of God. Our conduct reflects the love and reverence we have for Him. This means that we avoid telling or hearing coarse jokes, that we do not entertain or listen to gossip.
The book of Ephesians was written to Christians and the Apostle Paul reminds us in Chapter 4 beginning in Verse 29: “Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Verses 31 says: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” As you can see the apostle Paul would tell us that this conduct is not carrying God’s name the way He intends.
In Philippians 2:14, 15 the apostle Paul exhorts us to “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” This conduct of shining as lights in the world also glorifies God in our conduct. The world may think of us as odd but how much greater it is to His glory that no one can accuse us of godless speech and conduct.
In Romans 12:1 Paul tells us “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
The term present was commonly used of slaughtering animals in a religious ritual intended to please God. Here Paul pictures sacrifices that are living describing the believer’s transformation from the realm of death because of sin to the realm of life through union with the risen Christ. The term living also refers to the transforming effect of the gospel onbeliever’s and their conduct. In Romans 6:2 Paul asks “How can those of us who have died to sin continue to live in it?”
Holy and acceptable also refers to conduct that pleases God. What is spiritual worship? It is the kind of worship that we should give to God since we are rational creatures and God is a rational God.
Paul thinks that our worship should match the nature of God. The offering of our body refers to the offering of the entire self to God especially in the kinds of edifying and loving attitudes and actions toward others. Our spiritual worship matches God’s own merciful character and is seen in the good news that God has redeemed His people from slavery to sin.
This is how we properly carry God’s name.