Dishonoring God’s Name

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The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 36

99. Question: What is required in the third commandment?

 Answer: We are not to blaspheme or to abuse the Name of God by cursing,[1] perjury,[2] or unnecessary oaths,[3] nor to share in such horrible sins by being silent bystanders.[4] In short, we must use the holy Name of God only with fear and reverence,[5] so that we may rightly confess Him,[6] call upon Him,[7] and praise Him in all our words and works.[8]

 [1] Lev. 24:10-17. [2] Lev. 19:12 [3] Matt. 5:37; James 5:12. [4] Lev. 5:1; Prov. 29:24. [5] Ps. 99:1-5; Is. 45:23; Jer. 4:2. [6] Matt. 10:32, 33; Rom. 10:9, 10. [7] Ps. 50:14, 15; I Tim. 2:8. [8] Rom. 2:24; Col. 3:17; I Tim. 6:1.

 100. Question: Is the blaspheming of God’s Name by swearing and cursing such a grievous sin that God is angry also with those who do not prevent and forbid it as much as they can?

 Answer: Certainly,[1] for no sin is greater or provokes God’s wrath more than the blaspheming of His Name. That is why He commanded it to be punished with death.[2]

 [1] Lev. 5:1. [2] Lev. 24:16.

The Ten Commandments and Idolatry

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 34

92. Question: What is the law of the LORD?

 Answer: God spoke all these words, saying: I am the LORD your God, who
brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

 1. You shall have no other gods before Me.

 2. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My
commandments.

 3. You shall not take the Name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His Name in vain.

 4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.

 5. Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you.

 6. You shall not kill.

 7. You shall not commit adultery.

 8. You shall not steal.

 9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

 10. you shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, 10. or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.[1]

 [1] Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-21.

 93. Question: How are these commandments divided?

 Answer: Into two parts. The first teaches us how to live in relation to God; the second, what duties we owe our neighbor.[1]

 [1] Matt. 22:37-40.

 94. Question: What does the LORD require in the first commandment?

 Answer: That for the sake of my very salvation I avoid and flee all idolatry,[1] witchcraft, superstition,[2] and prayer to saints or to other creatures.[3] Further, that I rightly come to know the only true God.[4] trust in Him alone,[5] submit to Him with all humility[6] and patience,[7] expect all good from Him only,[8] and love,[9] fear,[10] and honour Him[11] with all my heart. In short, that I forsake all creatures rather than do the least thing against His will.[12]

 [1] I Cor. 6:9, 10; 10:5-14; I John 5:21. [2] Lev. 19:31; Deut. 18:9-12. [3] Matt. 4:10; Rev. 19:10; 22:8, 9. [4] John 17:3. [5] Jer. 17:5, 7. [6] I Pet. 5:5, 6. [7] Rom. 5:3, 4; I Cor. 10:10; Phil. 2:14; Col. 1:11; Heb. 10:36. [8] Ps. 104:27, 28; Is. 45:7; James 1:17. [9] Deut. 6:5; (Matt. 22:37). [10] Deut. 6:2; Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10; Matt. 10:28; I Pet. 1:17. [11] Deut. 6:13; (Matt. 4:10); Deut. 10:20. [12] Matt. 5:29, 30; 10:37-39; Acts 5:29.

 95. Question: What is idolatry?

 Answer: Idolatry is having or inventing something in which to put our trust instead of, or in addition to, the only true God who has revealed Himself in His Word.[1]

 [1] I Chron. 16:26; Gal. 4:8, 9; Eph. 5:5; Phil. 3:19.

New Book: The Way of the Lord

God calls us to live a life of love. The Bible teaches us there is a shape to this love. The love God calls us to looks like something. It has content to it. It is first and foremost received from God, then directed back to God, and then, lived out toward neighbor. It’s sacrificial, others-centered, joyful, and obedient. This life of love is the Way of the Lord, and the reason for the title of this study.

The Ten Commandments are an expression of the love Jesus commands in his summary of the Law. The great commandment is to love God with our whole being and the second commandment is like it, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. But even that word from our Lord Jesus is general, and even vague. Yet he could speak in such a way because he knew he was summarizing something more detailed and specific, something his first-century audience would have understood.

In speaking of the two great commandments, Jesus was really summarizing the moral Law of God, the Ten Commandments. The first table of the law, for example, which contains the first four commandments, focuses primarily, though not exclusively, on our love for God. The second table addresses the nature of neighbor-love, which as we learn throughout Scripture, is also an expression of our love for God.

This 11-Lesson, in-depth Bible study on the Ten Commandments will help you discover that there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to the Law of God. This study will work well for individuals, with a small group, or as a guide for a larger Bible study.

Click here to learn more about the study or to buy it.