John Calvin & The Lord’s Name
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. – Ex. 20:7
The purport of this Commandment is, that the majesty of the name of God is to be held sacred. In sum, therefore, it means, that we must not profane it by using it irreverently or contemptuously. This prohibition implies a corresponding precept–viz. that it be our study and care to treat his name with religious veneration. Wherefore it becomes us to regulate our minds and our tongues, so as never to think or speak of God and his mysteries without reverence and great soberness, and never, in estimating his works, to have any feeling towards him but one of deep veneration. We must, I say, steadily observe the three following things:–First, Whatever our mind conceives of him, whatever our tongue utters, must bespeak his excellence, and correspond to the sublimity of his sacred name; in short, must be fitted to extol its greatness. Secondly, We must not rashly and preposterously pervert his sacred word and adorable mysteries to purposes of ambition, or avarice, or amusement, but, according as they bear the impress of his dignity, must always maintain them in due honour and esteem. Lastly, We must not detract from or throw obloquy upon his works, as miserable men are wont insultingly to do, but must laud every action which we attribute to him as wise, and just, and good. This is to sanctify the name of God. When we act otherwise, his name is profaned with vain and wicked abuse, because it is applied to a purpose foreign to that to which it is consecrated.
– John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, p. 246.
Ambition. Amusement. Entertainment? “Holy” hip-hop? Hmm. If the word ‘Holy’ means distinct, unique, one-of-a-kind, then what is a Christian’s version of the world’s entertainment?
I think there is so much to his second point. At baptism we take upon ourselves the name of Christ, becoming His disciples and His children. Sometimes we don’t quite live up to that, but it should always be our goal to treat that with reverence and respect.
Amen and amen…
Wonderful post, JT. I guess the “Jesus is my homeboy” and “Breakdancin’ Jesus-boy” nonsense is little over the line as well… so how will our children get saved…? (sarcasm intended)