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The Second Commandment says, "You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His Name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks." God cares about how His Name is used. It is not to be used for the detriment of our fellow man, but for his salvation. We should not curse people to hell by God's Name, when we are just trying to add weight to our hatred toward our neighbor. We should not swear by God's Name to add substance to our deception. We should not use satanic arts, meaning we should not practice witchcraft or any religion of this world that would replace the Name of God as our salvation with a false mysticism. We should not lie by God's Name, because God is not a lie, but rather He is the Truth that sets us free. We should not use God's Name to increase our wickedness, or cover it up, but rather we are to use God's Name to call upon Him to save us. Our mouths should not be consumed with wickedness, gossip, and hatred, but rather our lips should be overflowing with love, forgiveness, and prayer. The Christian desires to keep this commandment, to speak gently and kindly words of forgiveness and to pray constantly to God in praise, thanksgiving, and petitions for forgiveness. However, we fail at this and we must hear and receive the Word of God that forgiveness us in the Name of Jesus.
And this is where the greatest breaking of the 2nd commandment takes place. Dr. Martin Luther, of blessed and holy memory, speaks in the Large Catechism saying, "The greatest abuse, however, occurs in spiritual matters, which pertain to the conscience, when false preachers arise and peddle their lying nonsense as the Word of God" (Large Catechism I.54). The Pastor is called to use God's Name to preach the Law and the Gospel in order that those who hear may be saved and forgiven. The Pastor is given God's Name to baptize, to absolve, and to feed the flock Jesus' Body and Blood. In short, the Pastor is given the Name of God to retain the sins of the unrepentant and to forgive those who grieve over their transgressions. He is not given to preach that good works save, or that good works keep you in the faith. He is not given the Name of God to preach a prosperity gospel in which the more you love God, the more God will bless you with temporal goods and riches. The Pastor is not given God's Name to preach a gospel besides the one given by Jesus Himself, a gospel that points to man's sacrifices, rather than Jesus' wounds for our healing. The Pastor is given God's Name to forgive you, not to condemn you. Yes, the Pastor does hold back absolution from those who do not repent, but this is not the end. He does this with the hope and prayer that they come to repent and be saved in the words of forgiveness. The Pastor does not rest until forgiveness dwells in the heart of the one who does not repent. He does stop until the hardened heart is made soft in the preaching of the Word of God, until the law crushes the spirit and makes room for the Gospel to enter in and save. The Pastor is called to forgive sins in the Name of Jesus in order that all may know that they are saved from sin, death, world, and the power of the devil. This is the proper use of God's Name, the used for all failed saints who need to be lifted up in the forgiveness of their sins.
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 voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I forgive you, I love you," Amen.