How should we respond to blasphemy?

How should we respond to blasphemy?

How should we respond to blasphemy?
February 15, 2019

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How should we respond to blasphemy?

I’ve been catching up on some news tonight. I decided some time ago to turn off any interview where the words God, Christ, Jesus, or Lord is used outside of it’s proper context. Needless to say; I turned off many interviews from different news outlets. All I wanted to do was listen to the news, but instead, I was exposed to people who use the name of the God I love and serve in a dishonouring way. Should we tolerate this? What should our response be?

What do some commentators say?

John Gill in his commentary on Exodus 20:7 says that the phrase “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain…” means to: “make use of the name Lord or God, or any other name and epithet of the divine Being, in a light and trifling way, without any show of reverence of him, and affection to him; whereas the name of God ought never to be mentioned but in a grave and serious manner, and with an awe of the greatness of his majesty upon the mind.”

Albert Barnes in his commentary on the same verse says: “…The caution that a breach of this commandment incurs guilt in the eyes of Yahweh is especially appropriate, in consequence of the ease with which the temptation to take God’s name “in vain” besets people in their common conversation with each other.”

What does the Word say?

I don’t know if I’m imagining it, but it seems as if God’s name is being taken in vain at an increasing rate. I hear it in “normal” conversations between people and in the media. Even professing Christians take God’s name in vain and they do not even blink an eye while doing it. Do they understand what Exodus 20:7 says? Just listen to the second part of the verse: “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.” (Bold Italics added…)

Do they really believe that God will sit idly by while they violate His direct command? Have they forgotten what the writer of Hebrews said in Hebrews 12:6 “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” I wonder how many believers are being disciplined and chastised by God while they think it is circumstances or the devil who is attacking them? God hasn’t dropped His high standards after Christ’ sacrificial death on our behalf. God’s standards are the same it’s always been. We do have Christ as our advocate, but we must still obey God’s instructions. God’s moral law is just as applicable today as it has been when He gave it to Moses.

Looking back.

Exodus 20:7 says that God will not hold the person taking His name in vain guiltless! Adam Clarke comments on this verse by saying: “Whatever the person himself may think or hope, however he may plead in his own behalf, and say he intends no evil, etc.; if he in any of the above ways, or in any other way, takes the name of God in vain, God will not hold him guiltless – he will account him guilty and punish him for it. Is it necessary to say to any truly spiritual mind, that all such interjections as O God! my God! good God! good Heavens! etc., etc., are formal positive breaches of this law? How many who pass for Christians are highly criminal here!”

A “New Christianity”

In the “New Christianity” of today this kind of commentary from the early 1800’s will be viewed as “intolerant”, “hate speech” or “politically incorrect”. God’s high standard have been modified to suit people’s very low standard. The God of the Bible has been reduced to a “god” created in the image of man. This self-created “god” does not get upset if we violate his commandments. This modern “god”, is only loving, kind, gentle, weak, subject to man, tolerant of sin and does not react to the violation of His direct commands. This is not the God of the Bible!

“Should we tolerate this?” Should we tolerate it when God’s name is taken in vain? Where are the voices of God’s people who speak out against the abuse of God’s name? Where are the “prophetic” voice of the church who warns of God’s judgement on anyone who dare to take His glorious name in vain?

Message from a young man.

Our oldest son preached a challenging message this morning about holiness. In the message he pointed out that we should not measure our holiness to that of fellow human beings. We should measure our own holiness to God’s holiness. He preached from 1 Peter 1:15-16, where we read: “…but according to the Holy One who has called you, you also become holy in all conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (MKJV)

It is clear from these verses that God’ holiness is supposed to be our standard. It is a high standard indeed, but it is the standard which God set. He knows that we cannot reach that standard, but still it is His standard. The Apostle Paul understood God’s standard and he made it his life’s mission to reach for it. In Philippians 3:8-14 we get a beautiful description of the apostle Paul’s determination to reach the goal set before him.

If God’s standard is the standard to reach, it should be our life goal to reach for it. We should not come up with excuses and try to lower the standard. Unfortunately, God’s standard has been reduced so much that the world and the church look the same. This should not be happening. Believers should stand out like the stars in the sky.

Our response.

Believers need to understand that the world will always refuse to submit to God’s standards. The world cannot live up to God’s standards, so they will always bring it down to their level. The world will bombard believers with un-biblical low standards on an issue to try and bring them to their level. Once a believer’s standard drops, the world is satisfied and starts to focus on something else. What we see in society today is years of lowering the standards. God’s standards have been dropped to such an extent that believers think it is ok to live like the world.

As believers we sometimes think it is ok to watch and listen to the things of the world. They do not realise that exposure to the things of the world will change their behaviour. Things who used to be sin before, are no longer sinful. They do not realise that prolonged exposure to the things of the world will cause them to become just like the world.

Conclusion.

Looking at the world around us, should we tolerate it when the world takes God’s name in vain? One thing is for certain: The world will continue to blaspheme no matter what we do. I believe we should stop participating in the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose it. We should be a loud “prophetic” voice to the world even if it is not received with open arms. As believers, we need to press toward the Biblical standard that God set before us and separate ourselves from those things which are unacceptable to Him.

Don’t allow the world to fill your ears and eyes with things which will rob you from reaching God’s high standard. God called us to reflect Christ Jesus more and more, and the works of darkness will be exposed as the light of Christ shines upon it. The apostle Peter said it so beautifully in 1 Peter 1:16… We should… “Be holy, for I (God) am holy.”! Don’t tolerate anything which will bring shame to the glory of God!

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