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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 39

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Psalm 139:19–24

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

It is easy to notice the faults of others. For example, you will hear God’s name used wrongly—whether as an outright expletive or by swearing by it to gain another’s trust. But the heart of a believer will hear when he has vainly taken his Lord’s name. Once the Spirit of God has attuned the ear of a believer, he is grieved when he takes the name of the Lord in vain. He loathes himself for his sin. At this point, all he can hear are his own evil words; the voice of his neighbor now seems mute. So, we must pray God finds us out as we have noticed the wrong in others. This is one way we hallow God’s name (Matt 6:9), by asking that he search our hearts, and correct our words and actions. This begins with confession, asking God to forgive us, and then asking him to help our neighbors too.

Prayer: Find the evil in me, Lord, and lead me in your ways. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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