Bella Vista Church of Christ



Harold Akridge


What It Means to Use The Lord’s Name In Vain


“You shall not (misuse) or take the

name of Jehovah, the Lord your God in vain,

for the Lord will not leave him unpunished

who takes his name in vain.”

Exodus 20.7


  Our 21st century world has ushered in a new and seemingly permanent casual lifestyle.


• “Our Sunday best clothes” have been replaced with a new “anything goes” combination of whatever you want to wear.


• Our social behavior has been re-engineered by the many new forms of social media; Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and our indispensable Smart phones are our best friend.


• This new 21st century casual lifestyle is cemented in emails and text messaging. The constant use of emailing and texting has created its own written language using shortcuts, symbols and abbreviations.


  All these changes have created an atmosphere like the world has never known before. From the beginning God has dealt with man’s constant changing behavior and character through His omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient power. In four thousand years man has evolved and changed, but the Lord is the same today as He was yesterday: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13.8).


  Living in the 21st Century Christians are constantly faced with “don’t take the Lord's name in vain.” If we profess to be Christians, but act, think, or speak casually of our Lord, then we are thinking and taking His name in vain. The Lord is greater than just a name. His name is a representation of all His glory, His majesty, and His supreme deity. We are to honor His name in everything we do, think and say. To do any less is to take His name in vain.


  Satan through his constant lies wants us to think, believe, and accept that taking the Lord’s name in vain only occurs when we use “His name in swear, curse or cuss words.” We label those who “cuss like a sailor” as slandering heathen unbelievers. Unfortunately, many Christians are also guilty of using the Lord’s name in vain. The widespread casual attitude of using God’s name in vain comes from the popular phrases: “Oh my G-d! (OMG)," "J-sus!," "J-sus Chr--st!," "GD-it," and “Good L-d.” These phrases have been popularized through movies, TV, social media and sports. Christians must stand firm and not fall victim to slandering God’s name because of changing popular worldly trends. In Mark 7.20-23 Jesus reminds us that sin is larger than just action, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Sin is not just restricted to speaking the Lord’s name in vain, it also includes our thoughts. God knows our thoughts before we do: "Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O Lord" (Psalm 139.4).


  An even greater sin is when we defend that these phrases are just “mere words” and there is nothing wrong when using them.We cannot ever justify disrespecting God. The Hebrew word for vain is “shav” which means emptiness, vanity, falsehood, nothingness, emptiness of speech, lying, and having no worth. It is used 52 times in the Old Testament. The name of God, Lord, and Jesus Christ are all Holy. When we use the Lord’s name in vain we are minimizing His name, His deity, His very existence, bringing Him down to our mere human level. We must not conform to the sinful pattern of this world. (Romans 12.1-2). God’s name must only be used with the highest reverence and respect. Any other form is a sin!


  Human opinions and disagreements about what we think in using the Lord’s name in vain are not important. The only opinion that matters is the Lord’s. “Nothing - No Thing" has or ever will change when referring to God. Jesus responded to the Sadducees and Pharisees when they asked Him what the most important commandment is, replied “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22.37-38). Indeed, no one who truly loves God will ever use His name in vain.


“Praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted;

His majesty is above earth and heaven.

No one is like You, Lord; You are Great,

and Your Name is Mighty in Power.”

Psalm 148.13, Jeremiah 10.6


—Harold Akridge

   Bella Vista church of Christ