Last Sunday, in looking at the Third Commandment, we looked at the idea of the name of God, and how the name of God is much more than just a phonetic symbol identifying the God that we worship. Rather, it is the idea of the way that God chooses to reveal Himself. In the Scriptures, it is associated with such rich ideas as the people of God (those on whom He puts His name, Jeremiah 15:6), the worship of God (where His name is proclaimed, Psalm 69:10), , the nation of God (where His name is made known, Psalm 76:1) and the city of God (the place where God put His name, Deut. 12:5). The Third Commandment tells us not to take God’s name in vain, meaning to rob His name of the richness and weightiness which it deserves. “Vain” means light, empty, without substance. Proverbs 18:10 tells us that God’s name is “a strong tower”, meaning a sure defense. We take refuge in the knowledge of who God is, and in the promises that He has revealed to us.
We also saw how the idea of the Name of God in the Old Testament is largely transferred to Christ in the New Testament- Jesus is the way that God reveals Himself in the New Covenant era. Therefore, at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10-12), and Peter tells us that there is no other name whereby we must be saved.
Our hymn of the month, #510, says that Jesus’ name is the place where we hide ourselves from sin and shame (v. 1) and that our salvation is His name (v. 2). The title of the hymn is “Thou Hidden Source of Calm Repose” and it talks about how in every kind of calamity and distress, whether internal of sin and shame, or external of war, tyranny, poverty, or sickness, the name of Jesus is our comfort and our salvation.
In our worship and in our lives, we are privileged to bask in the fullness of the glory of God’s name, as it is revealed especially in Jesus Christ. He is the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and therefore He is the full revelation of God. In Him God’s name is fully seen.
Therefore we must not, as the Third Commandment teaches us, empty God’s name, or Jesus’ name, of its full weight and glory. We must not use that in a light and frivolous manner, to talk about Him according to our own opinions. When we do that, we rob God of His true glory and honor, and we also rob ourselves of the comfort and “high tower” that we have in the full revelation of Jesus Christ. Our own opinions and dreams will never protect us from the hardships of life, let alone the horror of God’s wrath. But in Jesus, there is real comfort and safety. There is no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved.