“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).
Exalting the name of God has been a part of God’s relationship with man since the beginning of time; thus, He has always prohibited the taking of His name in “vain”—that is, using it in an empty, meaningless, unprofitable, profane, irreverent way.
It seems appropriate that he mentions it specifically here in the third commandment for His people under the Law of Moses. A person could render God’s name as vain by using it as profanity or carelessly and disrespectfully, by being a hypocrite in regard to keeping His word, by breaking a commitment or a vow to Him, or by using His name as a part of an oath. A fifth way was to swear in God’s name that something was true when it was a lie.
Jesus makes this commandment a part of His Law in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 by telling His followers “do not swear at all.”
In view of the loose, irreverent language so commonplace in our world, we as Christians need to be reminded that it is sinful to be caught up in such a practice. Our every word and action are to show our deepest respect for God and to bring honor and glory to His name.
Fourth in a series on keeping our eye on the goal (2 Corinthians 4:15-18)
“While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not see are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Establishing a mindset and focus for the Corinthians, Paul brings to a close his encouragement for endurance in the faith for every child of God in every generation and in every place, not just for those in Corinth.
It is with a sharp and obvious contrast that Paul brings those things that are important into focus: the things that are seen are the materialistic, temporary things of the earth and the things that are not seen are those beyond this life—those things that last for eternity.
His emphasis is on the things that are eternal because that is the part of our future that will have the most meaning—it will never end. Successfully focusing now will result in our receiving “the crown of life.” That will make it all worthwhile as Paul points out in this series of verses.
Third in a series on keeping our eye on the goal (2 Corinthians 4:15-18)
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Having been accused of being a deceitful worker, the Apostle Paul and those laboring with him have maintained constancy in their work and in their faith.
They are troubled on every side; yet they do not become discouraged in their mission as messengers of Jesus Christ—they have the hope of the resurrection and they know the encouragement the church will receive because of their faithfulness.
In this verse, Paul points to the motivating factor in the life of every Christian as a reason for enduring whatever life throws in our pathway: the assurance of eternal life.
The present is so short in comparison to the vastness of eternity. So, we endure patiently the hurts and difficulties of this life, realizing that what awaits the faithful child of God far outweighs whatever happens here.
Second in a series on keeping our eye on the goal (2 Corinthians 4:15-18)
“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).
What a powerful message the Apostle Paul sends to a people beset on many sides by the problems of life. Mentioning his own troubles, he sends the Corinthians encouragement about how he intends to win the Christian race and how they can, too.
Win by being renewed day by day, the apostle says. He is talking about a refreshing of one’s inner self—that is, the spirit. When we are down and need a boost, help is available.
Times do come in our lives when we need refreshing. Like Paul, we can always be refreshed by renewing our knowledge of a loving Savior, by developing a positive attitude toward our being allowed to be a Christian, and by developing an unwavering faith—one that will not diminish in the face of life’s adversities.