Believe on the the Lord Jesus Christ and Thou Shalt Be Saved

Good Morning,

Next on the list is the commandment which deals with the name of God. Now, for sure this statute means we ought not use the acronym OMG nor say the full thing out loud nor use the name Jesus in a light way, but as we saw with the two previous laws there is a holistic way that we are to follow the Lord’s teaching that touches all areas of our being, both body and soul. One of the ways we become little pharisees with the law is to act as if only the outward keeping of it is what really matters, yet just like with the prohibition against imaging pictures of Jesus in our head what we see required below to the just obedience of the third commandment includes how we think about God, His titles, attributes, ordinances, etc… This is a vitally central part of the way we are to honor the name of our Lord. So, as we get into this command let us take a look at the Larger Catechism questions for the week:

Q. 111. Which is the third commandment?

A. The third commandment is, 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.

Q. 112. What is required in the third commandment?

A. The third commandment requires, That the name of God, his titles, attributes, ordinances, the word, sacraments, prayer, oaths, vows, lots, his works, and whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known, be holily and reverently used in thought, meditation, word, and writing; by an holy profession, and answerable conversation, to the glory of God, and the good of ourselves, and others.

It used to be the case that young men were cautioned against public disobedience because of the fear of what it would do to the family name. It meant something to be a Glaser or a McGill or a Faulkner or a Crawford or whatever. There was an association which was important to be kept for social graces. To step out of line was to put in danger a long-term work which made even the dead embarrassed. That’s the way we need to think about the third commandment. Our sin is a humiliation not only to ourselves, but to our heavenly Father.

Israel was counseled likewise by Moses in Deuteronomy 4:5-7:

 “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what great nation is there that has God  so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?’”

If He has given to us the revelation of His own character in the law there is a sense in which He has not only opened Himself to all men through that public disclosure, but especially for those dearest unto Him, the covenant family. The very gospel gifted and granted in Jesus Christ exhibited in John 3:16 is a question asked of humanity which centers around the very nature of the third commandment. Does God mean what He says when He offers His Son for our salvation or not? To ignore that free offer is to spit on the very name of the LORD and claim Him to be a liar. Blasphemy really has its genesis in our denial not only of the preciousness of His creation labors, but whether or not we believe Him when He declares the redemptive purpose of Christ.

It is a known fact that the Hebrews named people on purpose, they like our Native American friends had much in the way of using titles to make statements. When the angel came to Joseph in Matthew he said to him that Jesus’ name should be Immanuel, which means God with us. The name by which He would be known to His friends of course is translated, “God is Salvation”. To deny the offer of the good news is to deny the very person and work of the Redeemer. To denigrate His name is to break the third commandment. To forsake or ignore the love of God in that work is to break the third commandment. We honor the Lord’s name in resting and trusting in what He has accomplished at the cross and through the empty tomb.

But that is not the only way we can violate the statute. We likewise witness to the name of Jehovah by how we cherish His word. Applicable to this concern is Christ’s direct testimony to the disciples in John 14:15 about loving His commandments. Part of our reasoning in the keeping near and dear the pearls of wisdom found in the Scriptures is that we bear the name of God upon our own heart in virtue of our spiritual union with Christ. Therefore if we need even more reason as to why we should honor God in treasuring His name then look to the new creature you are in Him. Should we not have even more reason to be obedient to the law than those born into the household since we are sons and daughters by grace through adoption?

In closing, one last aspect of this statute that is worth touching on is worship. Worship is central to the life of the believer. Each of the opening commandments (and as we will see with the fourth in a few weeks) does in their own way take an aspect of the Christian’s devotional life and measures it with the law. To honor God is to obey what He has desired for His own praise and adoration. If we believe in the Lord then we will seek what He seeks and love what He loves. You cannot say you love your wife if when she asks for flowers for her birthday you say unto yourself, “I know better what she needs.” Any married man worth his salt can confess that his wife will not hold them guiltless for such unthinking behavior. We honor God in returning unto Him what He requests, no more, no less.  

Here is one more word:

Blessings in Christ,

Rev. Benjamin Glaser

Pastor, Bethany ARP Church

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