Even as a child, many Christians have recited the 3rd Commandment of God’s 10 Commandments, off by heart. But, are you sure you really know the 3rd Commandment?
There is one sin that may be worse than all other sins. And it is taking place on a large scale today.
"But wait!” you say. “You mean the 3rd commandment about not taking the Lord’s name in vain? How can that be the worst sin?”
Are you sure the 3rd Commandment only says “you shall not take the Lord’s name in vain?”
Is one sin worse than another?
There are some religious people who maintain that we cannot declare any sin worse than any other.
What did Jesus say in Matthew 5:19 Matthew 5:19Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
American King James Version×?
Jesus showed that some laws are greater and some maybe “least”, but all the laws of God are very important to live by. If a person teaches even the least of God’s laws are done away, that person will be regarded as “least in the Kingdom of God”.
By comparison, is the person who steals an office pen, committing as grievous a sin in God's eyes as a murderer?
Most people intuitively, as well as biblically, understand that all sin is bad, but there are gradations of sin. In fact, in old covenant times different sins had different levels of penalties.
One sin however, may be worse than all others.
Committing evil in the name of God.
What is the real meaning of the 3rd Commandment?
Let us take a fresh look at the 3rd Commandment and see for ourselves whether it is only speaking about “taking God’s name in vain” or whether it has a much, much bigger, broader, very important meaning, about committing evil in the name of God, with very serious consequences.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain”.
"Do not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain," is imprecisely translated in this verse.
The original Hebrew “Nasa” (pronounced naw-saw) literally reads, "Do not carry the name of the Lord your God in vain."
Then the Commandment continues, "for God will not hold guiltless (literally, "will not cleanse" or “who will not hold him to be clean that carries His name in vain”) whoever carries His name in vain."
Other verses that use “Nasa” to “carry”
The same expression for “take” being “carry” is found in Joshua 3:6 Joshua 3:6And Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.
American King James Version×and Joshua 6:6 Joshua 6:6And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said to them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD.
American King James Version×:
“And Joshua spoke unto the priests, saying, “Take (lift up and CARRY away) the Ark of the Covenant, and pass over before the people”.
We can imagine the Levites picking up the carry staves of the ark and lifting it to CARRY the Ark in the proper honourable manner that God had commanded.
In like manner to the Levites lifting up and carrying the Ark of God in proper manner, as God commanded, so we are to lift up and carry God’s name honourably by the example of our lives, as part of God’s Family.
Also, Israel (Jacob), before he died, asked Joseph his son to “carry” (Hebrew “nasa”) him honourably out of Egypt and bury him with his past family members.
"but let me lie with my fathers; you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place." And he said, "I will do as you have said."
So, we see that the Hebrew word “nasa” to carry, carries an amazingly powerful concept in the 3rd Commandment of Exodus 20:7 Exodus 20:7You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain.
American King James Version×: “do not carry the Lord’s name in vain”.
What does it mean to Carry God’s name honourably and not in vain?
It means that if we are to claim and profess ourselves to be Christians, as followers of Christ the Son of God and our Father in Heaven, then we should be careful to think, speak, and live our lives lovingly respectful and faithfully obedient to God’s laws and way of life.
Otherwise we will be breaking the 3rd Commandment of “carrying God’s name in vain”.
God is our Father, and as our Father, he has the right to make the Family house rules that we, as His begotten children, are to live by honourably, and to carry God’s Family name honourably and not in vain.
We should not carry the Lord’s name in vain, but rather uplift and carry the Lord’s name honourably, in all our thoughts, words and deeds.
Notice the expanded extension of the 3rd Commandment in the New Testament: 1 John 3:1-3 1 John 3:1-3  Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not.
 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
 And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.
American King James Version×: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
Notice here, that as “children of God” in the Family of God (Ephesians 3:14-15 Ephesians 3:14-15  For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
American King James Version×) we are to “purify” the dross from our selfish carnal nature of the “lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16 1 John 2:16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
American King James Version×) and to carry God’s name honourably by developing the character and mind of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5 Philippians 2:5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
American King James Version×)
To know God is to not carry God's name in vain
The apostle John was inspired to remind us that if we claim to "know God" and do not want to carry God's name in vain, then we will lovingly keep God's commandments.
1 John 2:3-4 1 John 2:3-4  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
 He that said, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
American King James Version×
“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
Sadly, when we ponder the depth of meaning of the 3rd Commandment to “not carry the Lord’s name in vain”, we come to realise that many so-called christians of this world, are breaking the 3rd Commandment.
For example, they do not keep the 4th Commandment (Exodus 20:8 Exodus 20:8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
American King James Version×) and they actually teach people that God’s “law has been done away”, contrary to what Christ taught about God’s law (Matthew 5:17-19 Matthew 5:17-19  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  For truly I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one stroke or one pronunciation mark shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
American King James Version×).
Plan of God revealed in the 3rd Commandment
Can we begin to see the wonderful magnitude of the true 3rd Commandment?
It literally spells out the plan of God for the salvation of mankind, in just one magnificent law!
When we truly lovingly and respectfully keep the 3rd Commandment of not carrying God’s Family name in vain, but carry God’s name honourably in every aspect of our thoughts, words, and conduct, we are on the road of conversion to developing the mind of God, which is the reason why we were born.