Evangelism and “not taking God’s Name in Vain”

Discussion/Devotional thought of the Day.

7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vainExodus 20:7 (ESV) 

When the above commandment is mentioned, most people think of someone who hit his hand with a hammer, or gets cut off in traffic, and with a exclamation utters the name by which all are saved, Jesus Christ.  Or perhaps they use God’s name to condemn (damn) something.  That is what pastors call a “sin of commission”.  We actually violated the command by doing exactly what it says we shouldn’t.  To misuse God’s name, to blaspheme, to denigrate the name of the Lord who died on the cross because He loves us.

But we don’t talk about sin only as sins of commission, but sins of omission as well.  That is – we take GOd’s name in vain, not only when use it to curse or swear or to impress or intimidate others, but also when we fail to use it when we should.  Luther spoke of it this way:

We must fear and love God, so that we will not use His name to curse, swear, cast a spell, lie or deceive, but will use it to call upon Him, pray to Him, praise Him and thank Him in all times of trouble.

I was thinking the other day, regarding the proper use of the Lord’s name, and verses came to mind about the Lord and His name and the people that bear His name, or will be given it.  Then one in particular came to mind…

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.Matthew 28:18-19 (NLT) 

If we are to use God’s name rightly, in marking people as His, in making disciples who bear His name, then indeed, when we fail to be about that, or disdain the sharing of the word of God, and the work of the Holy Spirit in using God’s word to bring people to life in Christ, then we have another place where we have failed to use His name, indeed, in lacking we have used it vainly.  For His word will not return void, it will not return in vain.  It is His to be used as we praise Him for His wonderful work in our midst, to pray and give Him the very burdens that distract us.

So use His word, use His name as we ought, loving people enough to share with them the very words of life, and see them marked in the name about all names, as God cleanses them.



About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on December 12, 2012, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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