Romans 8:20 "For the creature (the creation) was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him (Satan) who hath subjected the same..." (I leave out the "in hope" because whether it needs a comma or not makes a huge difference in meaning!)Vanity, vanity! What is vanity? In this context "vanity" is "something without value". It's an empty thought or activity. The display of vanity is called "in vain". Vanity is closely associated with pride and the vain reject authority because they are inherently narcissistic. It's "their way or the highway", so to speak, or they care so little for authority they remain apathetic to the will of those in charge.
Let me, for instance, consider God's name. His name is actually the tetragrammaton, JHVH, transliterated "Yahweh" in English. WYWH is merely Latin for "to exist". Hebrews respect God's name so much that he is always referred to as Adonai, or Lord. When using God's proper name, they use "______" because his name is so reverent! Respecting the Lord's name is utmost in respect and using his name flippantly or insincerely is a grievous sin, yet people, even Christians, use God's name irreverently continually!
Forgive me Lord, for the improper respect due this divine name, but people say "Oh, My God" as an exclamation even for trivialities. God's name has become little more than an exclamation point in a scream of excitement. Some folks have such a limited vocabulary all they can do is stand there and screech out God's name time after time. Using God's name shows, not only irreverence, but severe ignorance and the lack of knowledge of words in the English dictionary. Stupidity isn't a reason for this disrespect, but is an excuse!
When I confront people about respecting God's name, their rationale is "I don't mean anything by it!". That, by definition is "vanity" and the apathetic person has just used the Lord's name in "vain" , and failed to show God love and the respect that he is due.
Just like the Jews who have trouble with laws and regulations, loop-holes are explored. Some reason that if they say "Oh, My Gosh" or "OMG", then there is no disrespect and no commandments have been broken. Slang use of God's name is a thinly veiled attempt to circumvent what God asks us to do: respect his Holy Name! He makes his DEMAND very clear:
Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.A rationale is that Christians are no longer bound by The Law, of which this command is God's Law. That's exactly right. We no longer obey commands because we "have to", but because we "want to"! Those having a desire to please God, obey God. That's how we show our love for him! No, a person won't go to hell for using God's name in vain, but that person remains "guilty" of sin. Sin separates mankind from communion with God. How can the same person pray and magnify he Lord while at the same time displaying emotions of apathy and disrespect?
Vain acts and behaviors lead to more vanity. At some time, if we continue, Christians fail to take God seriously and fail to show love for him. Just as a woman who lacks love in a marriage and yearns for something different, an act of infidelity in heart, the person who fails to show love for God, may become an infidel!
Jeremiah 2:5 "Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?"That's a crucial point. In effect those who fail to love God are harlots in thought! As divorce is apostasy in marriage, vanity is apostasy to God!
1 Corinthians 6:15 "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid."As Christians we are brides of the bridegroom. Christ is the bridegroom. If we live for vanity, pursuing pleasure, we commit adultery against our Groom. The "membership in Christ" is broken and the one become two again. The Christian relationship of unity in Christ is broken and the Christian in apostasy has essentially divorced Christ. Marriage is a picture of our relationship with Christ, and as we must respect, love and adore our mate, we must also respect, love and adore Christ!
When we speak God's name in vain, we're not showing him any more respect than if we fail to prioritize our mate in marriage. Respect and love is work! By not putting forth the effort, our claim to be in a relationship is in vain! The emotion of love is lust. The work of love is LOVE. In God it's agape, in a friendship it's philio, in lust it's eros. However, in a marriage our love is agape, philio and eros! Of the three eroticism is the least of the three!
Let me present an example. I saw it on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. Ray always calls Debra pet names. She hears them all, but fails to listen. Ray, in a test, said something to her similar to "filthy slut". She stopped dead in her tracks! It registered. Ray was showing an utter lack of respect for his wife! Anger on Debra's part ensued. They were no longer in communion. Debra didn't like those words because it showed that Ray had no respect for his wife. That's the same as God's command. By using his name in empty conversation God's wrath is kindled! The relationship is hurt and the relationship is in jeopardy unless someone (like Ray), says "I'm sorry!" and means it!
What if Ray had merely substituted "FS" in the conversation and Debra knew the meaning of the acronym. Would she not have the same right to be angry? Surely!
For a Christian to demonstrate love for God, we obey God's will. His will is that we only use his name to magnify him and even if we're truly not worshiping him, we need to be cautious not to be flagrant in it's usage. I don't care what words you say except for one thing: "Does it denigrate my Creator?' That's why I care. I have pledged to never take the Lord's name lightly. With practice it's not hard to do that. If we aren't doing the simple things, can we be doing the difficult? I find it easy to obey this command, but the one about loving others is much harder. I'm working on that one myself!