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And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with your whole mind—and your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27)
From the Confessions: The Small Catechism
The Second Commandment
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (for the Lord will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain).
What does this mean?
Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not use his name superstitiously or to curse, swear, lie, or deceive, but call upon him in every time of need, and worship him with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.
Pulling It Together
So, we see that taking the Lord’s name vainly does not only break the Second Commandment; it also breaks the First Commandment. For taking the Lord’s name in vain demonstrates a lack of fear, love, and trust in God above all things. One who fears someone would never sully his reputation. Despising the one who is loved never enters the thoughts of the lover. Disgracing the one who is trusted would be self-defeating, likely depriving you of your need. Therefore, if we truly believe in God, we fear, love, and trust him with our entire being. In really doing so, we will not use his name vainly, for there is no need to do so.
Prayer: Help me to live what I believe, Lord. Amen.
Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.
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This edition of the Luther's Small Catechism is specifically designed to go with the Sola Confimation Series. The 2010 Sola/ReClaim Edition is a faithful word-for-word translation from Luther's German Catechism. It also includes the section on the Office of the Keys, added later to Luther's Catechism.