The 3rd Commandment: “You Shall Not Take The Name Of The Lord In Vain”

The 3rd Commandment: “You Shall Not Take The Name Of The Lord In Vain”

Preacher Huijun - 26 February 2023

The Third Commandment of God: "You Shall Not Take The Name Of The Lord In Vain"

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<Ex 20:7, ESV> “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 vain.


<Lev 24:16> Anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.



What is so important about God’s Name?

  • God’s name points to His being, His nature, His character, His worth.
  • His name is to be set apart as holy.
  • God acts for the sake of His own name.
    • <Ps 23:3> He guides mealong the right paths for his name’s sake.
    • <Eze 39:25> “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name.
    • <Eze 36> 22 “Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. 23 I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.
    • <Ps 115, ESV> 1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! 2 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”
  • Jesus’ name is effective for salvation.
    • <1 Jn 2:12> I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
    • <Acts 4:12> Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”


 What does it mean to “take God’s Name in vain”?

1) Frivolous use of God’s Name.

  • Reduce God’s “holy and sacred” name into something “common”.
  • Using God’s name to express our frustration, anger, surprise, or just saying God’s name for fun, is blasphemy.
  • Can use the name of God when calling God in heartfelt prayers.
  • Bible: “Yahweh” – more than 6800 times in the OT; “Elohim” about 2600 times.
  • Proper use is fine, misuse is the problem.


2) Using God’s Name to support falsehood.

  • Making insincere, false or empty oaths in God’s name.
  • Giving false testimony to malign people in God’s name.
  • It is an insult to ask the God of truth to be a witness to lies.
  • When swear by a name other than God, became guilty of idolatry.
  • Using God’s name to lend a false sense of authority.
  • Invoking God’s name in sorcery, divination, false prophecies, consultation of mediums, etc  engagement in false religions.


3) Slander God’s Name by not living up to it.

  • God told us His Name, and let us use His name, so believers are called “Christ-ians”.
  • What an honor and blessing!
  • When take up His name but continue living comfortably in sins, it’s taking His name in vain.
  • Paul urged us to live a life worthy of the calling we have received <Ep 4:1>.
  • The third commandment can be broken not merely by words, but also actions, such as:
  • Participation in false religions: <Lev 18:21> “‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.
  • Carelessly touching holy things: <Lev 22:2, ESV> “Speak to Aaron and his sons so that they abstain from the holy things of the people of Israel, which they dedicate to me, so that they do not profane my holy name: I am the Lord.
  • Offering defiled sacrifices and those with defects, thinking offering to God is a burden <Malachi 1:6-13>.

o   Even how we treat earthly masters: <1 Ti 6:1> All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered.

  • <Micah 4:5> All the nations may walk in the name of their gods, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.


4) Using God’s Name to manipulate Him.



  • Heidelberg Catechism, Q 99. What is the aim of the third commandment?
  • A: That we neither blaspheme nor misuse the name of God by cursingperjury, or unnecessary oaths, nor share in such horrible sins by being silent bystanders.

In summary, we should use the holy name of God only with reverence and awe,

so that we may properly confess God, pray to God, and glorify God in all our words and works.

  • Q 101. But may we swear an oath in God’s name if we do it reverently?
  • A: Yes, when the government demands it, or when necessity requires it, in order to maintain and promote truth and trustworthiness for God’s glory and our neighbor’s good. Such oaths are grounded in God’s Word and were rightly used by the people of God in the Old and New Testaments.
  • Q 102. May we also swear by saints or other creatures?
  • A:
    A legitimate oath means calling upon God as the only one who knows my heart to witness to my truthfulness and to punish me if I swear falsely. No creature is worthy of such honor.
Preacher Huijun
Preacher Huijun

Huijun joined The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) as a preacher in 2012. She is effectively bilingual and preaches occasionally at the Chinese service. She graduated from Singapore Bible College and currently lives in Singapore with her husband, Chengji.

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