The third commandment sounds like:
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
and is one of the commandments which raises most controversy of all. If “You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal.” sound pretty clear and people know what they have to do when comes about this commandment things are not so crystal clear.
What does it mean to take God’s name in vain
Some say that this refers to not using expressions like Oh, my God! or whatever expression has to do with a name that reminds us of the divine. But according to the dictionary, in vain means “in an improper or irreverent manner”, ” in an irreverent or blasphemous manner”.
Well, I used to believe those that forbid the use of word God in any other circumstances that in a prayer or when talking about scripture, but I am not sure anymore that this is what this verse is actually saying though. In the ancient times, the Hebrews didn’t even spell his full name and this fact lets us know there was a legitimate expectation to highly regard the name of God. Taking into consideration this, it makes sense to not misuse his name by saying it when one gets angry, fearful or when he’s shocked. But if you are calling out to God when you say it, there is nothing wrong with it.
What does this verse actually mean
- we should not take on the name of God as in claiming to be one of God’s family (hence using His name as ours as a family member does) if we do not actually follow His ways. That would mean we are hypocrites, and thus taking His name in vain.
- we should not have other “gods” and should not let them rule our lives int he same time when we pretend to be Christians and obey God’s rules. When we decide to become followers of God and were baptized as such, we became identified with Him as much as a woman who takes her husband’s name is identified with him. This is so powerfully true that the Christians are called “The Bride of Christ.” Other “gods” could be money, fame, pleasures etc.
- we should not let our conversations be full of foolish jesting, vulgarity as well as cursing which is clearly condemned in scripture when speaking about God. Now, what does it mean to “curse” someone? I think it means to “damn” them. So, it is a sin when the word God is used together with a curse. God does not curse somebody just because one wants so, and that means to take God’s name in vain. Christians are called to bless not to curse.
Now in regards to the word “God” I think is a description of his divine nature and his power greater than humankind, not a name. In the Old Testament we found that his name is Jehovah, Yahweh and also Elohim (Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning Elohim (Hebrew) created the heavens and the earth.”), therefore it is not blasphemy when we use the word “god” in any other context than biblical.
In the beginning Elohim (Hebrew) created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1,
As for the new covenant, the only name known by Christians is the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and God himself.
But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. (John 10: 38)
That makes the whole discussion about God’s name taken in vain when somebody says OMG irrelevant.