The Second and Third Commandments
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
If someone now asks, “How do you understand the Second Commandment?” or “What is meant by taking God’s name in vain, or misusing God’s name?” answer briefly in this way: “It means misusing God’s name when we call upon the Lord God—no matter how—in order to deceive or do wrong of any kind.” Therefore, this commandment makes this point: God’s name must not be appealed to falsely, or taken upon our lips, while the heart knows well enough—or should know—that the truth of the matter is different…. God’s name cannot be misused worse than for the support of falsehood and deceit.
—Large Catechism Part 1:51-52
But the greatest abuse occurs in spiritual matters. These have to do with the conscience, when false preachers rise up and offer their lying vanities as God’s Word [Jonah 2:8].
—Large Catechism Part 1:54
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
This is the simplest meaning of the [third] commandment: People must have holidays. Therefore, such observances should be devoted to hearing God’s Word so that the special function of the day of rest should be the ministry of the Word for the young and the mass of poor people [Nehemiah 8:2-3, 8]. Yet the resting should not be strictly understood to forbid any work that comes up, which cannot be avoided.
“To sanctify the holy day is the same as to keep it holy.” “But what is meant by keeping it holy?” “Nothing else than to be occupied with holy words, works, and life.” …God desires the day to be holy to you. Therefore, it becomes holy or unholy because of you, whether you are occupied on that day with things that are holy or unholy.
—Large Catechism Part 1:86-87
God’s Word is the true “holy thing” above all holy things. Yes, it is the only one we Christians know and have…. God’s Word is the treasure that sanctifies everything [1 Timothy 4:5]…. Whenever God’s Word is taught, preached, heard, read, or meditated upon, then the person, day, and work are sanctified. This is not because of the outward work, but because of the Word, which makes saints of us all.
—Large Catechism Part 1:91-92
Lenten Catechesis from Treasury of Daily Prayer © 2008 Concordia Publishing House.
Used with permission.
All rights reserved. www.cph.org
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