Q. What is the third of the Ten Commandments?
A. The third of the Ten Commandments is, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”
Lord, have mercy!
We hear these expressions all the time, and that is exactly what God said not to do. The third commandment says not to use God’s name in an unholy manner. But why? What’s the big deal?
The word vain means empty; when we use God’s name in vain we empty it of its power. Don’t get me wrong—God cannot lose power, but He can in the ears of those who do not know Him.
What comes to mind when you hear these names?
When we hear names it brings thoughts to mind—whether good or bad. In the same way, words like god and names like Jesus Christ also bring thoughts to mind. When Christians speak of the name of God we should be lifting Him up with all the praise we can muster, telling the world how good God is.
But when we attach His name to every fleeting emotion, from hearing our favorite song on the radio to watching our team score a touchdown, we empty His name of its power and goodness in the ears of the unsaved world.
Acts 4:12 tells us, “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given to men, by which we must be saved.” We need to point people towards His name.
When it comes to God’s name, are you lifting it up or tearing it down?