Third in a series by Pastor Gerald Ripley
Are you a hypocrite? I doubt you’ve been asked that question before. I haven’t. I can’t recall asking it in the past. But there are Christians who are hypocrites. It’s a wicked way God’s people need to turn from in order to meet God’s conditions listed in 2 Chronicles 7:14 for Him to heal our land. Non-Christians can spot a Christian hypocrite in a very short time. We are being watched.
The commandment, “You should 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) has to do with the irreverent use of the holy name of God and of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It also has to do with being hypocrites.
God’s name is important to Him. He’s the One who gave this commandment. When we misuse (profane) His name, we dishonor our Creator, our Heavenly Father who loves His children so tremendously. How His heart must hurt with our irreverence!
OMG! Oh God! God no! “Damn it!” with God in front. These and all expletives exclaiming the name of God or Jesus or Jesus Christ apart from prayer or worship are transgressions of the commandment. The Apostle James indicated it should not be so when such irreverence comes out of the mouths of Christians (James 3:10).
In centuries gone by, when dramas or plays were presented, the actors wore masks when they were pretending to be some character in the play. That’s where the word “hypocrite” comes from. A hypocrite is a person who presents himself or herself as being, who pretends to be someone he or she is not. Other words to define a hypocrite include deceiver, phony, fraud.
In Acts 11:26 we learn the disciples were called Christians for the first time in the city of Antioch. Christ’s ones. When we become a Christian we take on the name of Christ. If we live in such a way that we bring shame on the name of Christ, we have taken His name in vain.
Thus we violate this commandment whenever we don’t live as Christians can be expected to live. Non-Christians spot this disconnect almost instinctively.
If we are liars, if we are cheaters, if our language is profane, if our morals are impure – we are not representing Christ as He deserves. We are taking His name in vain. We are talking the talk but not walking the walk. We are not portraying a proper example of what it means to live like a Christian.
This is serious business. The commandment says “God will not hold him guiltless (another translation puts it “go unpunished”) who takes His name in vain.” Jesus declared the condemnation for being a hypocrite will be greater than for being an unbeliever (Matthew 23:14).
As we do some introspection with this commandment, let us consider if we are speaking God’s name irreverently with our tongue with cursing and profanity. Let us also consider the questions, “Am I a hypocrite?” “Are there times in my life or areas where I talk the talk but don’t walk the walk?”
Let us turn from these wicked ways.
Fifty-two Wicked Ways of God’s People
7. Using God’s name irreverently
8. Hypocritical (Talking the talk but not walking the walk)
9. Bring dishonor to God’s name by words or actions.