How I Used Truth - Lesson 3 - Annotation 4
Explain the Third Commandment, "Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain; for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain" (Exod. 20:7).
4. To "take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain" means to use the powers that belong to our God nature in ways that are non-productive of good. It means identifying God's name of I AM with a negative thought or belief. Such use is "vain" for it can produce nothing of satisfying or lasting value.
The Scripture text under consideration has reference in Bible history to instructions to the Israelites regarding the name of Jehovah God. In the King James version of the Bible, the words "the Lord" are used in the place of "Jehovah." Both refer to the indwelling Lord, or the Christ of the New Testament, which is the Lord or law of our being. The name of Jehovah (or Lord) refers to the God nature in each of us, which is also termed the I AM.
The word vain in Webster's dictionary carries the meaning of "empty; void; devoid of real value, worth, or meaning; useless; fruitless; worthless." Because I AM is God's name or nature, using the powers of that name in an unrighteous way cannot produce good for us. There have been those who have thought that this passage refers only to swearing. However, because "the things of the Spirit of God . . . are spiritually discerned" (I Cor. 2:14, A.V.) we believe that this commandment goes deeper than outer words, though these are included. It is what we feel in our inmost being that will show forth in our manifest affairs and indicate whether we are using the name of God "in vain" either in audible words or in attitudes of mind. If we are using the power of I AM to think and feel in ways that are not productive of good in mind, body, or affairs, then we may be sure that we are taking God's name (nature) of I AM "in vain." If we believe that anything can stand between us and our good, whether we say it in so many words or not, we are guilty of taking "the name of Jehovah thy God in vain."
The latter part of this scriptural statement covers another point worth considering: "Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." If we are using our spiritual resources -- the power to think, to feel, to speak, to act -- in ways that are contrary to God's laws, then we are guilty of transgression of divine law. God loves us, for we are created in His own image and after His likeness, but His universe is governed by unchanging law. If we persist in using His "name" or all the powers that make up His nature (I AM) in ways that are not in harmony with God or good, then He cannot "hold [us] guiltless." All of us come under the same unchanging, divine laws of all creation. The mental law of cause and effect is given in the Bible as the law of sowing and reaping: "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6;7). If we sow seeds of negative thinking, we will reap negative conditions. Thus, no matter how much our Father-Mother God loves us, we will be guilty of transgressing the law by our error thinking.
"We are wise, indeed, when we stop using God's name in vain, when we stop saying even in jest, 'I am afraid, weak, unable, failing.' Rather, should we be positive in affirming, 'I am brave, strong, able, successful!'"
Preceding Entry: What is the meaning of I AM?
Following Entry: Why should a Truth seeker not use such phrases as "I am sorry" and "I am afraid"?