“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.”
Identity theft is a growing threat. With the right information, tech-savvy criminals can use your name to gain access to your credit and make purchases for which you have to pay. Victims of identity theft are left with real messes. It takes months, even years, to reclaim their own names and rebuild solid reputations.
What does all this have to do with the Second Commandment? The Second Commandment is specifically designed to protect the precious identity of the Lord. Unfortunately, the Lord continues to be a frequent victim of identity theft when people misuse his name for their own pleasure and gain.
God’s true identity is revealed in the Bible. God revealed his true identity to bless us and save us. The Bible reminds us that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
The Bible teaches us that the Lord is a holy God who punishes all sin. The Bible also teaches that the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God who forgives all sin. God punished all sin when the perfect Jesus suffered our hell on the cross. Because Jesus died on the cross, God forgave all sins. God now credits us with the holiness of Jesus. He declares us “not guilty.” That’s how God wants to be known. That’s his name. That’s his identity.
The Lord’s identity is stolen every time his name is misused. His reputation is damaged when false teachers tell lies about him. If anyone adds to God’s Word or takes away from it, God’s identity is plundered of its saving glory. God’s name is dragged through the mud when it is used as if it were a vulgar curse word. God is robbed of his identity when people claiming to be Christians live selfish lives that lack love and concern for others. God forgives us for the many times we have been guilty of damaging his reputation.
God warns against “misuse” of his name, but he does want his name “used.” Years ago some believers actually avoided speaking the Lord’s name, fearing they might accidentally misuse it. What a shame! God is delighted when we “call [on his] name in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.”
God’s name is worthy of praise. Speak God’s name often. Use it regularly in prayer and worship. Help God protect his true identity by letting the light of faith shine through your good deeds. Share the good news of sins forgiven in Jesus!
7:00 PM Sunday:
Adult Bible Study
Holy Communion is celebrated on the first and third Sundays of the month and the Wednesdays preceding these Sundays. The WELS synod practices close communion, contact Pastor Barlow for more information.