Hello. You are here because someone on your Facebook thread (maybe you) posted the term, “OMG.” Don’t freak out. Just brace yourself for what some might consider some hardcore judgmentalism and try to be open-minded. Give us the benefit of the doubt (if judgmentalism is bad, please don’t prejudge this article or your friend who posted it, and instead, please assume we have good intentions) or else we’ve got a Pot and Kettle situation going on.
Although some might argue that “OMG” means “Oh my goodness” or “Oh my gosh,” that’s clearly not the common use of the term. The website, InternetSlang.Com gives the definition of this oft-used term…
Now, some might argue that they “didn’t mean anything by that.” Well, my friends, that’s exactly why the wrath of God is now heaped upon you and the eternal consequence of this sin is now much closer than you realize. This is not an excuse for your error, but rather is the error in and of itself. You see, God’s standard of right and wrong is explicitly revealed to us in his Ten Commandments. It’s in these commandments that we see the full summary of what God has revealed to be righteous and unrighteous (acceptable to him and not acceptable to him). And third commandment says this…
Notice, this is the first commandment with a promise of impending punishment – reserved for those that take his name “in vain.” God will not hold him guiltless.
The online dictionary defines in layman’s term what it means to take God’s name in vain.
Speak casually or idly of someone, as in There he goes, taking my name in vain again . This idiom originated as a translation from the Latin of the Vulgate Bible (Exodus 20:7), “to take God’s name in vain,” and for a time was used only to denote blasphemy and profanity.
So, those saying “I didn’t mean anything by it” are actually giving a clear statement of admission that they have, indeed, taken God’s name in vain. It means to use the name of God (any of his names) in a way that is empty or devoid of meaning. Saying his name flippantly or without meaning is the very definition of taking his name in vain.
Now, I understand why some would wonder why taking God’s name in vain solicits the promise of guilt, judgment and condemnation for what would seem to be – at first thought – an easily-pardonable offense. As a Christian, let me take the blame of a Christian culture that has failed to convey the holiness and importance of God’s name. So, a quick survey as to its importance (an article from GotQuestions.org will help you understand this).
God’s very nature, his ‘glory,’ and his flawless attributes are reflected in his name (consult Psalm 8:1). Psalm 111:9 tells us that his name is holy (set apart, different) and to be praised in all the Earth. All people, as indicated in the prayer Jesus modeled for us, are to “hallow” God’s name (Matthew 6:9). Specifically, Hebrews 4:16 teaches us that it is by God’s name that we are allowed to petition him in prayer and seek in his name, salvation.
Now, taking God’s name in vain can mean saying it without meaning or invoking it to express disgust. Taking God’s name in vain could also mean swearing an oath in his name (saying, I swear to God…) that you do not fulfill (Leviticus 19:12). Both are infractions of the use God has permitted us in giving us the honor of knowing what to call Him.
Another term for “taking God’s name in vain” is blasphemy. It is among the most severe sins that we can commit against God. Although each and every sin requires the punishment of death (Romans 6:23), some sins are especially atrocious to God. To blaspheme him by misusing his name is among the greatest, as indicated in the clear disclaimer in the Third Commandment, “I will not hold guiltless those who take my name in vain.” If I could even shock you for a moment, I’d ask you to consider that blasphemy is at least as offensive to God as sins that fallen human beings like you and I consider – in our spiritual ignorance – far worse. Although every sin, even those committed against people, are sins also committed against God (Psalm 51:4), the sin of blasphemy is directed explicitly at the character and essence of God. Whereas murder is a sin of hatred against sinful, fallen man (as terrible as it is), blasphemy is thrown directly at the heart and nature of God.
A good analogy would be the proverbial dog that bites the hand that feeds it. What an utterly worthless, ungrateful beast would bite the very hand that brings it food! If your child routinely feeds your dog and repeatedly gets bit for no reason other than the violent nature of the canine, no one would blame you for putting down the animal. And yet, God sent his son die for sinners (John 3:16) and we repay the favor by using his name to express anger, filth, and disgust. We could choose any number of four-letter words to convey these detestable feelings or rage, and instead choose to use the only Holy name in all the universe! Think about the ingratitude, and then consider that the punishment for blasphemy (which is eternal death) fits the crime perfectly.
On Facebook (or whatever social media site this link might appear) you chose to use the fingers God gave you to misuse his name via the keyboard, phone or computer that God gave you. As you typed OMG you were breathing the air God gave you in the lungs God gave you to rebel against him in the brain God gave you to convey his name in a worthless and senseless manner. Although this sounds harsh, you are the dog that has bitten the hand that feeds you, sustains you, and gives you life. And for that purpose, your life shall be required of you.
God is merciful, gracious and loving – but he is also truthful. And God has spoken in his eternal commandment that he will not hold you guiltless. And that guilt will require a payment for your sins. As simple as these three letters might seem, typing them amounted to sin against an infinitely holy God. And because God is infinitely holy, your sin is infinitely egregious. And because your sin is infinitely egregious, it requires and infinite punishment. And that infinite punishment is the wrath of God. I’ll give you a brief example to explain why this makes sense, because if you’re like most people, you still might be saying, “What’s the big deal?”
If I were at a bar, minding my own business, and I was perturbed at the obnoxious behavior of a drunken patron next to me and thus decided to punch him the face, you might be inclined to say I did a bad thing. And yet, it probably wouldn’t be the end of our friendship. It was wrong, but maybe understandable. It certainly wouldn’t rank me among the most dangerous characters on the planet who needs to be locked up forever to protect my fellow citizens. However, if I were at the grocery store, minding my own business in the check-out line, and I became perturbed at the obnoxious behavior of a year-old baby who was crying and screaming because that’s what little babies do, and then decided to punch that baby in the face, you would hardly see that as “no big deal.” In fact, you would be rightly justified for insisting that I be locked up as a ferocious criminal who should be locked up (possibly indefinitely) for the safety of my fellow citizens. I highly doubt that afterward, you would call me ‘friend’ or want to be associated with me.
You see, the severity of the crime has little to do with what we’ve done and everything to do with who we’ve done it to. You see, a punch in the face isn’t just a punch in the face. Who did you punch? If you assault a perfectly innocent person, it’s entirely different than if you assault someone who – although they may not deserve it, either – can at least be chalked up as “understandable.” If you take your mother’s name in vain, you’re an ungrateful punk. If you take your friend’s name in vain you’re a bad friend. But if you take God’s name in vain you’ve just assaulted the only truly innocent, sinless, and selfless being in all the Universe.
And frankly, that’s what you’ve just done by typing OMG. And the very fact that it seems like “no big deal” is actually a damning indication of your sinful nature that doesn’t see God for who he is and makes light of his contribution to your very existence. It means that not only you have blasphemed, you are by nature, a blasphemer. Why should God want to be associated with you?
Now, all of that is bad news. Like, it’s really, really bad news.
Here’s some good news.
Although God requires punishment for sin that includes death and the pouring out of his wrath upon such terrible crimes as blasphemy, God is also loving. Unfortunately, just forgiving you without handing out the consequence of your blasphemy would make God not only a terrible judge, but would make God a liar. That’s a big dilemma. How can God forgive you and distribute justice as He’s promised?
The answer to that all-important question is this…