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God's Name is Holy

Posted by Pastor Christopher Hull on

Luther speaks of the 1st Petition of the Lord's Prayer saying, "Hallowed be Thy Name. What does this mean? God's Name is certainly holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy among us also. How is God's Name kept holy? God's Name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity and we, as children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. Help us to do this, dear Father in heaven! But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God's Word profanes the Name of God among us. Protect us from this, heavenly Father!"

Luther divides everything we do into word and deed, speech and act. God's Name is kept holy or desecrated by either our words or our deeds. In our words, God's Name is kept when we hold fast to the Word of Truth and proclaim God's Word faithfully, in accordance of rightly dividing the Law and the Gospel. His Name is kept holy when we administer the sacraments in accordance with the Gospel. His Name is kept holy when we preach and teach that man is justified by faith in Christ Jesus alone, by His grace alone, as revealed in Holy Scripture alone.  God's Name is profaned when preachers proclaim false doctrine and lead the sheep astray with new and fancy teachings that have nothing to do with the Gospel, but rather are a new costume for work's righteousness. God's Name is profaned when preachers teach that man is justified by Christ Jesus plus their works, emotions, steadfastness, or human traditions. Luther says this is the "worst profanation and dishonor of the Divine Name." 

 God's Name is also kept or profaned by our acts and deeds. In the Large Catechism, Luther says, "Since in this prayer we call God our Father, it is out duty in every way to behave as good children so that He may receive from us not shame but honor and praise." How we live reflects our earthly parents and how they raised us, and it is the same with our Heavenly Father. He raises us, speaking to us words of command and promise, raising us everyday of our life to rely solely upon Him and live in faith toward Him and in fervent love toward our neighbor. When we live for ourselves, living in open sin that transgresses the Law and hurts our neighbor, then we live not as children of God, but as children of the devil. When we live in unrepentant sin like open gossip, drunkenness, adultery, hatred, and jealousy, then we live as children of this world and its desires.  We pray that our Father in heaven keep us from living in open sin, and instead keep us faithful in our struggle against sin. May our Father in heaven keep us in the faith that we recognize our sin and repent over it. May our Father keep us relying on His Son alone for our comfort in the midst of our failure as His beloved children.

God's Name is kept holy among us when we cling to Jesus' Name, His Work alone for our salvation. When we fall, fail in living as good children of God, then we cling not to our merit, but rather to Jesus' merit that He laid down for us on the cross. We don't spend our time making up excuses for why we live the way we do, or why we made the mistakes we made, but instead we repent and trust that Jesus loves us and will always keep His promise to forgive us. My friends, God's Name is certainly holy and it is my prayer, and may it be yours as well, that His Name may be kept holy among us also for our benefit and the assurance of our salvation that comes only in the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus the Christ.

Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the peaceful voice of your Savior Jesus that says, "I forgive you. I love you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.

Jesus' Sheepdog,

Pastor Hull

Tags: catechism, god's name, jesus, luther