Profanity and Using God’s Name in Vain
It’s amazing how some sins become so commonplace in society over time. Those who have given in to the curse of alcohol were once called “drunks” or “drunkards”. They gradually became alcoholics, and then over time they adopted the title of having a “social disease”. Homosexuality was once called by its Bible name of Sodomy. It too has changed overtime to being called “gay”, and eventually into how it is now referred to as an “alternative lifestyle”. The sin of profanity and using the Lord’s name in vain has also become all too commonplace and accepted in our society.
God has always been interested in how people speak, and the words they choose to say to one another. The third commandment given to Israel reads, “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” (Ex. 20:7). God’s name was considered so holy that the Hebrew people where afraid to speak it. The Israelites had scribes who would hand copy the Torah, which were the first five books of the Bible. Each time they would write the name of God on the scrolls, they would stop and ritually purify themselves with water. Can you imagine how one of those scribes would feel today if he were to hear how God’s holy name is used in such trivial ways? More importantly than that, we should consider how God feels about it. The Psalmist once wrote, “holy and reverend is His name” (Psalm 111:9). Has that changed? Is God’s name no longer holy and reverend? Has something changed that leads people to believe they can use God’s holy name as a slang word to be thrown around in any conversation? No, God’s name is still the holiest and greatest name in the universe. It always will be. The problem, as always, is with man’s lack of fear and respect for the Creator.
This is another perfect example of how people become desensitized to sin over time. Just twenty or thirty years ago you would very seldom, if ever, hear the Lord’s name used in vain on network television. I was watching a television show on the “Disney Channel” with my daughter not long ago where I heard God’s name used in vain at least six times within ten minutes. This was a television show for kids, on a kid’s channel, and it was rated for all children of all ages!
God has commanded us to abstain from all forms of filthy language. Paul told the Ephesians to “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Eph. 4:29). He also told them “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks” (Eph. 5:3,4). Paul told the Colossians to “put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth” (Col. 3:8).
Profanity and using God’s name in vain are sins which can easily become habit forming over time. Profanity infects the brain like a disease when heard on a steady basis. When one begins to use it in their speech, it becomes more and more commonplace and is a difficult habit to break. The way a person speaks is often a good indication of what dwells in their heart and mind. Christians have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in them (1 Cor. 6:19), so there is no reason why profanity or crude jokes should be coming out of them. -Ed