Most people including some born-again Christians seem to think this refers only to using the names, God or Jesus with some expletive as a cuss word. Yes that is using His name in vain and totally void of any reverence to life. However, there is a more frequently used way, and we all have been, or are presently guilty, but are not aware of it due to ignorance or false religious teaching. It is when we ask God to do something, or provide something that He has already given or made available to all believers. Let us review the situation.
In order to re-establish the channel of communication and His intimate relationship with man and earth He, God produced, that is He created an embryo of Himself and placed it in the womb of a virgin named Mary, thus in actuality come to earth as His own son, Jesus, fulfilling the scripture in John 1:14, ‘The Word (God) was made flesh and lived among us”, to fulfill His predestined plan of salvation and redemption. Jesus was the visible image of our invisible God according to scripture Colossians 1 verse 3 . He voluntarily submitted Himself to the religious leaders of His people to be tortured and scourged by the Roman occupiers of the land. The punishing soldiers pulled out by hand His beard, they then spit in His face. He was then stripped to His waist and forced to kneel while they whipped him thirty-nine times with a cat of nine tails having bits of glass and rock that tore the flesh off His back. (Modern medical science identifies all pestilence illnesses and maladies can be traced to only 39 root causes.) They then placed a woven crown of thorns on His head piercing His brow. He was then forced to carry the wooden cross to the top of a hill known as Golgotha. There He was then crucified being nailed to that cross the nails piercing His outstretched hands and not crossed feet. He did all this without one cry of pain or did He offer any defense. He was then made over by taking upon Himself every sin past, present or future. He was literally transformed into sin, not just a figure representing sin, but the sum total of the product of evil. This had to happen in order for Him to take upon Himself all the wrath of God against Satan, the spirit of evil that steels to destroy the souls of those who choose death and curses rather than choosing life and blessing. (Deuteronomy 30:19) He then carrying all this carnal world’s sufferings and pains, (sin) He delivered them in the depths of hell and dropped them all in the lap of Satan and took from him the keys of death and hell which he had obtained from Adam. God then raised Him from that death intended for all not believing and being saved. By the accomplishing this He became the first over-comer of the evil rudiments of this world to become for us the Resurrection. For us first to apprehend then to comprehend the magnitude of love, (God) that He displayed fulfills what He declared in John 10 verses 15 through 18. Now we, in order that we who are born of the Spirit and thus our being born again, (The first time we were born of the flesh and with a dead spirit) can now live and have all the spiritual blessings (gifts) in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1:3) By His Grace and Loving kindness He has given to us through our faith in His son Jesus the privilege to use His name in order we can master, or rule over all the works of the now powerless enemy, but who continually ploys his deceitful tactics to influence us and steal the purity of a Grace impowerd , Spirit led life. Know and understand we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
God’s Grace, the product of His Love, is already available, so using the name of God or Jesus for something already provided is using His name in vain. It is likened unto trying to live in a home wherein there is plumbing that provides water furnished by a water company becomes so plugged that when one turns a water faucet to get water he gets nothing. Understand, the water is there in the pipe but because of the plugged system it cannot be received. This is analogous to the spiritual channels through which God provides His Grace, Spiritual Gifts and answers to our petitions and prayers. If those channels are stopped-up with unbelief or doubt and hardening of our heart, or any junk which we have allowed to infiltrate our carnal minds, it will either hinder or completely block the Holy Spirit from delivering God’s blessings. If this is the situation in your life even though you are a born again believer, you must take action to clear all obstructive elements from your carnal mind and personal channel of communication with our Heavenly Father. Asking Him in the name of Jesus, He will help you. Asking Him in the name of Jesus to do, or provide that which has already been done and is available for His children is using His name in vain, but it is not too late in this age of man to correct the situation. Asking Jesus to be you’re Lord you are asking Him to be your master and teacher. In so doing you must relinquish all selfness to Him and not only believe in Him, but believe His written and spoken words , trusingt Him to provide all your needs. You will hear his voice speak to you through His implanted spirit with your spirit. You will know His voice, and to God be all the Glory.