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Why should we keep God's name holy?
Thank you for your question about the name of God and keeping it holy.
It is likely that you are referring to the third of the Ten Commandments, which says "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" (Exodus 20:7).
Throughout the Bible, names have importance. We see God giving Abram the name Abraham, meaning father of a multitude (Genesis 17:4-5). We see God renaming Jacob as Israel, meaning he strives with God (Genesis 32:28). We see Moses being given his name by Pharaoh's daughter "because", she said, "I drew him out of the water" (Exodus 2:10).
As a final example, we see Jesus being given his name "for he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Jesus means "God will save", and this is exactly what Jesus did for us. He lived a perfect life to show us how to live, he died on the cross to save us from our sins and he rose from the dead to show he had the authority over death.
Names are very precious to us, giving us an identity and allowing people to get our attention. Imagine if someone were to misuse your name, either using it as a swear word or using your name when taking an oath, how would that make you feel? We would be right to be offended and ask the person to stop!
Therefore, how much more will God, the creator of all things, take offence when people misuse his name?
Some people do take this too far, by not saying any name of God, even positively. I've even seen instances where people will not write 'God', for fear of God taking offence. This doesn't seem to be what the Bible is showing.
Rather, we are to show respect toward God and who he is. He is the creator of all things, the one who has given us life, the one who has redeemed us through his blood. He deserves our respect, worship and adoration.
I'm sure we've seen or heard people clearly misusing God's name. Perhaps we've heard people using Jesus' name as a swear word, or using God as a justification for their actions. We can consider challenging them on this! Tell them how wonderful the name of Jesus truly is, tell them about what he has done. Tell them that God loves them, and if they will ask for forgiveness and acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and Saviour they can know his love, guidance, peace and purpose.
In summary, the Bible shows us that names have importance, and one of the Ten Commandments tells us not to take God's name in vain. We would take personal offence if someone were to misuse our name. In the same way, God will take offence if we misuse his name; he deserves our respect and worship. If you see or hear someone misusing God's name, challenge them on it. They may end up becoming a Christian because of your actions!
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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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