Summary: Let's look at the 3rd and 4th of the Ten Commandments, as most Protestants count them.

Let's look at the 3rd and 4th of the Ten Commandments, as most Protestants count them.


Exodus 20:7 You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

From a flippant OMG to deliberate slander, vain and purposeless use of the most wonderful name in the universe is common. Yet, do we who are careful with our mouths also take the Lord’s name in vain? Do we, who claim the name of Christ and pray to Our Father in heaven, represent Him in such a way in public that we cause others to curse God, or that our conduct itself is a vain representation of the One whose children we claim to be?

Some go to the extreme of not using God’s name even for good purposes, lest there be within that even a hint of blasphemy. Could that avoidance also be using God’s name in vain? Did Jesus take the exact opposite approach in the Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father? Afterall, Jesus prayed “hallowed be thy Name.” How can we hallow a name that we avoid. Rather than avoid it, doesn’t Jesus encourage us to use it in a manner that hallows God’s Name? We can see how the letter of the law kills. It has killed in such careful people even the desire to use God’s precious name at all. Can any of us truly avoid breaking this commandment?

The Ten Commandments are written mostly as negatives, thou shalt not… So what is the positive side to this commandment? Ought we to use God’s name in praise, thankfulness and worship? If we avoid it altogether, have we not also broken it, by neglecting the positive use of the Lord’s name? How can we hallow a name that we avoid? No matter which way we go with it, we are incapable of coming to complete and satisfactory obedience. So, does this mean that we are incapable of obeying this commandment in all its intended meaning? Obviously the answer is yes, and that’s why we need Jesus and His gracious sacrifice.


Exodus 20:8-11 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

Saturday Sabbatarianism is found among Messianic Jews, Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, and various churches of God. Some are Trinitarian. Some are Binitarian. Sunday Sabbatarians treat Sunday as a new Sabbath. Both Saturday and Sunday Sabbatarians apply a letter of the law approach to a worship day of their understanding. But, doesn’t the letter kill?

One thing Saturday and Sunday Sabbatarians have in common is the inability to answer why there is not one single command in the New Testament for Christians to keep Saturday or Sunday. By the word command, I do not mean hints or personal examples, but a direct, clear cut, unequivocal mandate. It does not exist.

There is one very clear instruction about rest, and it is directly from the mouth of Jesus. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Why did Jesus not tell us to keep the Sabbath, even though He clearly kept it? Here was His perfect opportunity to emphasize the Sabbath for the Church. Some say that the Sabbath was a given, assumed, but that is an argument from silence. And when Jesus is silent about a topic, we ought to pay attention and ask why.

Jesus did tell a man still under the old covenant, if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments (Matthew 19:17) but how would He have us keep the law, in the letter or the spirit? And notice how Jesus failed to reemphasize the Sabbath command in His answer, when asked which ones (verses 18-22). Why? We’ll get to understand that eventually.

Many people assume that the word commandments always means the Ten Commandments, but Jesus spoke of something that is not one of the ten, love your neighbor as yourself, also a commandment. In fact, our Jewish friends enumerate 613 commandments in the Hebrew Scriptures, not just ten. Unless the adjective ten is included we cannot simply assume that every time the word “commandments” is used it implies the Decalogue. That is a frequent false assumption in Sabbatarian discussions.

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