The effects of taking God’s name in vain

Probably, the most misunderstood Commandment is avoiding taking the Lord’s name in vain. The rest of the Commandments are clear, in terms of avoiding their violation. In the Third Commandment God specifically stated that whoever takes the Lord’s name in vain would not be forgiven.

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name” (Exodus 20:7 NID).

God’s name; Yahweh” is derived from the term “I AM,” depicting the divine personality. This name directs significance to what was created in God’s image, which, all along, ordinary humanity remains oblivious of.

The Jews were limited to physical structures, which represented the “I AM”. Whereas, God, represented in the significance of the term “I AM”, refers to what remains to be. This makes it impossible for one to talk of God, without referring to oneself.

The “I AM” is God, although, humanity remains unaware of the reality of God’s image. The discovery of God’s image is the only condition for making one, God’s child. When asked about one’s identity, it is often assumed the physical identity. This is how even Jesus was mistaken for what He was not.

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you lose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah (Matthew 16:13-20 NIV).

Jesus knew about the ignorance of ordinary humanity. The fact that Jesus performed many miracles did not, necessarily, qualify the identity of who He was signifying. Jesus represented what held neither a beginning nor an end. He was the “I AM” referred to, in the Hebrew identity of “Yahweh”.

The secrecy, of Jesus’ identity, was revealed by Peter. Jesus pointed out that flesh and blood had not revealed this to Peter. Peter’s revelation was secret, as ordinary humans were not allowed to access the significance of this identity. “Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah” (Mathew 16:20 NIV).

Why did Jesus order His disciples to avoid revealing that He was the Messiah? The term “Messiah” refers to a liberator. However, as referring to Christ, the term qualifies Jesus as liberating humanity from the sinful subjugation, since the Garden of Eden incident.

This was a spiritual subjugation, whose bondage is in physical structure. The “I AM” is not physical, but represents God’s image. While necessary that the referred secrecy should be revealed to humanity, God does that, in His own time. Otherwise, sinful humanity gets exposed to taking God’s name in vain. This happens to be the only reason Jesus taught in parables.

When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside, everything is said in parables so that, ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” (Mark 4:10-12 NIV).

The secrets of God’s Kingdom had been given to the disciples. But ordinary humans were to be taught in parables so that they would not understand. They were taught in parables so that they would hear but not understand. This is profound. We have to find the special reason why Jesus did not desire ordinary humans to understand.

The answer is found in the consequences of taking God’s name in vain. The significance of violating that law renders violators not to be found guiltless. In other words, it is impossible for anyone who violates the Third Commandment to be forgiven; in this life or in the life to come.

And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:31-32 NIV).

Those who treated Jesus badly, saying all kinds of things against Him, will be forgiven. “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven.” The physical condition of Jesus protected those people. Their ignorance of Jesus’ identity was advantageous to them, although they did not know about it. Otherwise, the unconverted person would be condemned for eternity.

Physically, God’s Name was represented in Jesus, whose physical condition protected ordinary humans from accessing it. Speaking against the Holy Spirit entails not being forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Unlike Jesus who, physically, represents God’s name, the Holy Spirit, also representing God’s name, spiritually, exposes one to condemnation. The Holy Spirit seals one to become God’s Child. If sinning after having received the Holy Spirit, one would have violated God’s name.

The Holy Spirit is a gift, not randomly granted to humanity. You would have had to forsake everything, including your own relatives and personal possessions, to receive God’s Spirit. In short, nothing else constitutes a condition of receiving God’s Spirit.

Jesus was very specific, instructing those having been excited about His miraculous performances. Calling oneself a Christian does not guarantee one to receive that precious gift of the Holy Spirit. This is why God’s Children cannot be identified by ordinary people.

 Large crowds were travelling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying; ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples” (Luke 14:25-33 NIV).

Christianity is one of the most popular religions in this world. But it takes an analytical observer to perceive that none of those would be aware of the above Scripture. I suppose, as merciful as God is, not many of those calling themselves “Christians” are granted the precious gift of the Holy Spirit?

A truly converted person is not, necessarily, known to be careful about obeying God’s Laws. God’s children may not even be regular churchgoers. Incidentally, they comprise those frowned at, by ordinary humanity. Just as Jesus was mocked and frowned at, they may also be treated similarly.

Popularity is not what describes God’s Children, who do not become mistaken about their identity. God’s children are not described according to human standards, as they are not of this world. They do not do things to impress anyone. But whatever they do represents what God would be doing.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For, what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1-4 NIV).

Those of this world may condemn God’s children, just as they assumed to be condemning Jesus. But, it is impossible to condemn God’s Children, according to the intended reality. God’s children would have become united with the “I AM” as created in God’s image.

God’s children do not value things of the flesh, anymore. This is different from those assuming that personal possessions, accumulated over time, signify one’s relationship with God. Their only danger lies in living according to worldly standards; while assuming to be God’s children, at the same time. The specifics of living a Godly way of life, were delineated by Jesus.

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:5-8 NIV).

God’s name is Spiritual and is only understood, spiritually. The Israelites, though given the Third Commandment, may have not understood the significance of God’s name. Except thinking about the Yahweh” or the “I AM” as pronounced to Moses.

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:13-14 NIV).

The secrecy of God’s name lies in the “I AM” of individual humanity. The “I AM” of any individual, is God’s image. This is different from the egotistic “I AM”, planted by the devil. The Satanic “I AM” is described in the falsehoods of Satan, who attempted to usurp God’s glory.

The egotistic “I AM”, clouds God’s “I AM”, so that humanity has been groping in confusion, ever since Adam’s sin. When mistaking the truthful “I AM” for the egotistic “I AM”, humanity condemned Jesus to die. But the death of Jesus is what opened the floodgates of the deliverance of humanity.

Mistaking the truthful “I AM” with the egotistic “I AM”, is tantamount to taking the name of the Lord in vain. This is what entails not being forgiven in this age, and in the age to come. The person would have accessed the truth but would have also deliberately abused that truth.

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” (Hebrews 10:26-27 NIV).

There may be those asserting to follow Jesus but without the Holy Spirit. Such people are supernaturally protected. There may also be those truthfully asserting to follow Jesus, but deliberately violating God’s name. Those should be regarded as the people in serious danger.

This is why it is extremely necessary to avoid being attracted by the whims of the majority. If one is God’s Child, one follows God’s directions, rather than following the directions of humanity. Who can know God’s Child, except God Himself? Hence, Jesus instructed His disciples to avoid judging (Matt 7:1-4).

The standard of Jesus’ true followers is according to Jesus, and not according to other humans. At the point of judgment, God will not excuse those having been misled by others. This is why Jesus advised baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The equation excludes pastors or even the apostles.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

The Print copy is now available at for $13.99

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