Jesus Christ and the Third Commandment

3rd commandmentContinuing the series on Christ and the commandments, this one is about the third commandment.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”



I would be surprised if anyone could find a place in the Bible where Christ did anything to break that commandment.

How do you interpret that commandment?

I used to think it just meant ‘swearing’ or ‘blaspheming’. Like using the name of God, or His Son as part of swearing… something that seems to be much on the increase these days.

Then I heard a sermon in which this subject was taught. I did not know so many euphemisms existed… and was saddened that some of the ‘innocent sounding’ things I had in my vocabulary were, in fact, euphemisms.

word euphemism

Jeez, golly gee, and a whole lot more that I have blessedly forgotten. One that did surprise me was ‘cheese and rice’. I guess being born and raised in Scotland it was not one I came across.

Well it is more than obvious that Jesus did not use euphemisms, He was unfailingly respectful in His dealings with His Father and in His requests to Him.

But there is another way to take God’s name in vain.

In fact, having heard it in a sermon… and receiving permission to use it, I included it in a part of Hold the Faith. The apostle John is speaking…

“Over the years of my life, many times people have asked me to describe our Saviour so that they could make an image of Him. Brethren I refused. This would break the second commandment.”

Some of the people who had wanted the same thing shifted uncomfortably.

John smiled gently at the group before him, “brethren, it is not so unusual to want this… but it is wrong. God has chosen His names to reveal Himself to His people. We have discussed these recently, so I will not repeat them now. What I do want to talk about is the responsibility of bearing His name.”

Looking around again, he asserted, “this is not purely for the people who are undertaking baptism, it is something we should all examine ourselves about… regularly. How well are we bearing God’s name? Are we witnessing to His character, His love, His patience and long-suffering? Are these things part of our lives? Does God show in the way we behave? If we are in business do we deal honestly with our customers? Servants and slaves, do you give more than you are asked for? Mothers and fathers, do you demonstrate God’s love in the way you raise your children?”

Several people stared at the floor or busied themselves with their children.

“I am not asking you to answer to me, I am explaining that this is part of not taking the name of the Lord in vain, and applies to all of us, all of the time. How long since we looked at ourselves and asked if we are breaking that commandment?

This is something I have to remind myself about regularly… what about you? Have you thought about it this way?

Jesus said “If you have seen me you have seen the Father” in John 14: 9

The fervent desire of a Christian should be able to say the same thing.  We are human though, and God gives us His grace and mercy… so the more we should endeavour to ‘do unto others’.

Shalom and may God give you His peace and guidance.



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