Text: “Thou shalt NOT take then Name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him/her guiltless that taketh His Name in vain.”
Good morning, privileged Christian! Like the author of these Bible Lessons, you are a natural born sinner. fact! There is not a day goes by in which you and I are free from sin; not a day that is devoid of failings, falterings, doubtings and bouts of gross unbelief and mistrust of God’s grace. It takes deep inner honesty for a true Christian to openly admit this fact of our inherent sinful nature and our frequent tendency to indulge it, day by day.
We can never ‘...grow in grace...’ if we do not first openly acknowledge our need of it continually. Self-honesty concerning our sinful nature, is the first step to deeper sanctification in Christ and, when acknowledged, a more mature walk with the Lord.
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me (I know what I should do/say/think/act and am willing to behave in this manner); but how to perform that which is good (having the power to do good) I find not.” (Romans 7:18)
The apostle Paul is here, in the book of Romans, expressing his deep desire to do and be ‘good’, yet his complete lack of power to perform that ‘good’. His conclusion is one arrived at by a maturing Christian, one who is being tried and tested for service, and is honestly recognising the weaknesses of his own naturally sinful nature.
Having come to this honest self-evaluation, Paul is now ready to confess his sins; receive a new filling of God the Holy Ghost, enabling him to better serve the risen Christ Jesus. Paul’s example is a sound one for you and I to follow in our journey towards a more mature Christian walk/service with Christ Jesus. (1 John 1:7-10)
“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man (the new born again nature): but I see another law in my members (his old carnal nature), warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! (self-acknowledgement of his sinful state). Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (the second death and separation from God because of sin)? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (He alone can save us from our sin.)...” (Romans 7:21-25)
For younger Christian believers in particular, the key to coping with the problem of retaining our old carnally sinful nature, AFTER we are Spiritually regenerated (saved), lies in verse seven of the first epistle of John, chapter one:
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth (cleanses and continues to cleanse) us from ALL sin.” (1 John 1:7)
For the genuine, born again, Bible-believing Christian – the sin question has been nailed to the Cross of Christ Jesus our Redeemer King – ALL our sins – past, present, and future sins – were placed upon our dear Saviour then, and He took the blame and punishment for every one of them for us, ‘His people’. Hallelujah!
In our STANDING before God, our sins have all been dealt with, once for all time. Wow! What a Saviour! What a gracious Father we have! Praise His Holy Name!
Knowing that we are still, and often wilfully, connected to the commission of sin, keeps us humble before our Holy Lord God, yet shows us how utterly ‘privileged’ we are to be even permitted to say with the Psalmist ‘O my God...’; to be able to mention the awesome Name of our Creator Lord God without being consumed in an instant by His sheer Holiness!
Verse 6. “My God. Astonishing expression! Who shall dare to say to the Creator of the ends of the earth, the Majesty in the Heavens, ‘My God’? An exile, a wanderer, an outcast; a man forsaken, despised, reviled; a soul cast down and disquieted: he shall dare. By what right? Of Covenant. (Contract between God and ‘His people’.)” (Henry March 1839)
“And she (Mary) shall bring forth a Son, and thou (Joseph) shalt call His Name JESUS: for He shall save HIS PEOPLE (not all people!) from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
To be empowered, by God’s Sovereign grace, to enter into close fellowship with the Almighty Lord God and Creator of all things is the highest privilege a mere sinner can have. This is the Divine privilege you and I have been graciously given, and all made possible through the willing Sacrifice of God the Son, Jesus Christ. Salvation is found only in Him.
“Neither is there Salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Privileged sinners, after we are saved by God’s grace, are always sorely tested by Him – to make us stronger in faith and Christian experience in life. We are engaged in a vicious Spiritual Battle, and called to be ‘good soldiers’ in the army of Christ Jesus, which is the true and genuine Church worldwide and universal. Only the Spiritually regenerate are thus tested for Spiritual warfare in the service of King Jesus. Often the testing can be severe indeed.
Verse 7. “...All Thy waves and Thy billows are gone over me. Atlantic rollers, sweeping in ceaseless succession over one’s head, waterspouts coming nearer and nearer, and all the ocean in uproar around the weary swimmer; most of the heirs of Heaven can realize the description, for they have experienced the like (in Spiritual testing). This is a deep experience unknown to babes in grace, but common enough to such as do business (the King’s business) on great waters of affliction: to such it is some comfort to remember that the waves and billows are the Lord’s. “Thy waves and Thy billows,” says David, “they are all sent and directed by Him, and achieve His designs, and the child of God, knowing this, is the more resigned.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 206)
Verse 8. “Yet the Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime. No day shall ever dawn on an heir of grace and find him/her altogether forsaken of his/her Lord: the Lord reigneth, and as a Sovereign He will with authority command mercy to be reserved for His chosen.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 206)
Thought: The only person that can legitimately exclaim, ‘O my God!’ is one who has been Redeemed by Christ’s Blood, and entitled to cry, ‘Abba, Father’! All others commit serious sin! ‘Thou shalt NOT take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain!’