Lord’s Day Thirty Six

Question 99-100

The third commandment needs to be understood in the context of the first two:

  1. the object of our worship – the Lord God who delivered his people

  2. the manner of our worship – as regulated by the Lord God

  3. our attitude in worship – worshiping the true God truly and worthily (as He deserves)

  • To take – naµsaµ<The Qal form of this root is used almost six hundred times with basically three separate meanings: “to lift up”; “to bear, carry, support”; and “to take, take away.”

  • The concept of personal names in the OT often included existence, character, and reputation. In some passages sûeµm Yahweh is so inextricably bound up with the being of God, that it functions almost like an appearance of Yahweh. The name of God also signifies the whole self-disclosure of God in his holiness and truth. TDNT

In the third commandment “God does not forbid us to take or to use his name; but he forbids us to do it rashly, which is to use it lightly, falsely, and reproachfully.” Ursinus Our use of God’s name in word, thought, and deed must be such that God, his Word, and his works are properly (accurately) displayed and honored – that is, “that he be rightly confessed and worshiped by us, and be glorified in all our words and works.” Heidelberg Remember, the first or greatest command according to Jesus was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.” Matthew 22:36-38 The third command goes far beyond simple profanity and misuse of the word God or Jesus or Christ.

So how does that work?

  1. In word

    1. our duty to teach others of God, his ways, and his works

      1. that we not neglect it

      2. that we teach true doctrine

    2. our duty to properly praise and glorify God

      1. praising him before others

        1. acknowledging his fingerprints on the world

      2. speaking only the truth about him

      3. calling down blessing and not cursing on our enemies

    3. showing proper gratitude to God for his blessings

      1. giving him the honor that is due him and not giving it to others (or to chance)

    4. expressing zeal for God’s glory

      1. encouraging others to proper praise

      2. discouraging those who would blaspheme

    5. asking of him what is commanded

      1. asking him to supply our need

      2. to give us good things and not what is forbidden

      3. asking with a believing heart

  2. In thought

    1. conceiving a true understanding of God

      1. a mental “image” that matches his written revelation

    2. thinking those things about God that are consistent with his divine majesty

    3. engaging our mind in worship

      1. prayer

      2. singing

      3. reading his word

      4. participating in the means of grace

  3. In deed

    1. reflecting God’s character in our character

      1. showing an accurate representation of his communicable attributes

        1. God is a spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. WSC Q. 4

          • incommunicable: immensity, eternality, immutability

          • communicable: being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth

            • communicated in a finite way

    2. wearing his name in a worthy way

      1. so that others see and praise God Matthew 5:16

      2. having a credible Christian profession


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