Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain

Lords name in vainChuck McKnight has written some fantastic articles recently on his blog, and I wanted to invite my readers to head on over there and check it out.

One of his recent posts was on what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain. I have written briefly about this before, but I really like the direction Chuck took in his post, since it provides a little more historical-cultural research and background information than I provided in my post.

Here is some of what he says:

The Israelites were a special people—set apart by Yahweh and called by his name. They bore God’s name before all the nations.

This command then becomes an all-encompassing one. Since God’s chosen people bore his name, they had better not take that responsibility lightly. They were supposed to be a shining beacon, bearing the name of Yahweh with obedience and distinctive holy living.

Unfortunately, for the most part, the Israelites failed. They did bear God’s name in vain.

But that responsibility has now passed to us. We, the followers of Christ Jesus, bear his glorious name before all the nations.

Head on over to his blog and read the rest of his post, and while you are at it, check out his intriguing post on Jesus being Yahweh and his post on whether or not Jonah died in the belly of the fish. This post was highly intriguing for me right now, as I came to a somewhat similar conclusion in my research as I continue to write my Commentary on Jonah.

And as an extra bonus, Chuck McKnight has a second blog where he notifies people about FREE BOOKS! Go check it out!

A Little Related Humor

While I was searching for images for this post, I found these two pictures, and figured I would include them here, just for fun. Enjoy!

Lords Name in Vain

The image above represents what has been my view for a while, that to use the Lord’s name in vain is to speak for God when He never spoke, or ascribe something to God (our actions and behaviors) in ways He never approved. It would be like saying, “God told me to tell you…” when God did not actually tell you this, or “God told me to…” when God did not actually tell you to do any such thing. My view (before incorporating Chuck’s post into my thinking) was that we take God’s name in vain when we add God’s name to our beliefs and behaviors so that we can appear more holy and authoritative to others. The comic above seems to take a similar view.

Here is the next humorous image about taking the Lord’s name in vain.

Lords Name in Vain

This guy is making fun of religious rules, but he makes a good point. “Christ” is not part of God’s name. It’s a title for “Messiah.” And “Jesus” comes from the Greek Iesus, which comes from the Hebrew Yeshua, or Joshua. So his point is valid, but I disagree with his implied conclusion. I don’t think it is wise to say “Jesus Christ!” or “Oh my God!” in an off-handed way. Of course, even if you do, it is still not blasphemy.

And last but not least, here is a guy making fun of how we Christians use “the God card.”

What do you think about the sin of taking the Lord’s name in vain? What is it, and how do we avoid committing it? 



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