If He has given to us the revelation of His own character in the law there is a sense in which He has not only opened Himself to all men through that public disclosure, but especially for those dearest unto Him, the covenant family.
Next on the list is the commandment which deals with the name of God. Now, for sure this statute means we ought not use the acronym OMG nor say the full thing out loud nor use the name Jesus in a light way, but as we saw with the two previous laws there is a holistic way that we are to follow the Lord’s teaching that touches all areas of our being, both body and soul. One of the ways we become little pharisees with the law is to act as if only the outward keeping of it is what really matters, yet just like with the prohibition against imaging pictures of Jesus in our head what we see required below to the just obedience of the third commandment includes how we think about God, His titles, attributes, ordinances, etc… This is a vitally central part of the way we are to honor the name of our Lord. So, as we get into this command let us take a look at the Larger Catechism questions for the week:
Q. 111. Which is the third commandment?
A. The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Q. 112. What is required in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment requires, That the name of God, his titles, attributes, ordinances, the word, sacraments, prayer, oaths, vows, lots, his works, and whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known, be holily and reverently used in thought, meditation, word, and writing; by an holy profession, and answerable conversation, to the glory of God, and the good of ourselves, and others.
It used to be the case that young men were cautioned against public disobedience because of the fear of what it would do to the family name. It meant something to be a Glaser or a McGill or a Faulkner or a Crawford or whatever. There was an association which was important to be kept for social graces. To step out of line was to put in danger a long-term work which made even the dead embarrassed. That’s the way we need to think about the third commandment. Our sin is a humiliation not only to ourselves, but to our heavenly Father.
Israel was counseled likewise by Moses in Deuteronomy 4:5-7.