When we say that God’s name is holy, we mean also that God sets it apart from all evil. This we are to remember when we use it. God’s name is to be used with care and reverence. It is like an expensive tool that a man uses in his work. He carefully protects it against abuse. So God gives us His name to bless us and bring us salvation. “In every place where I cause My name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you.” (Exodus 20:24a)  “Everyone who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

 

We therefore love and fear our God and believe that His name is a precious gift. God firmly commands us to avoid thoughtless and evil use of His name: “The Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7b)

 

It is a misuse of God’s name to curse. This means to call down God’s anger upon ourselves or others or to speak evil of God. A curse is a sinful use of God’s name, whether it is really intended as such or only spoken in thoughtless anger. Among the people of Israel it was considered worthy of death. Their law said: “Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin.” (Leviticus 24:15)

 

It is a misuse of God’s name to swear. Only when the glory of God or the need of a fellowman demand it (as in court) may we use God’s name in speaking an oath.

 

It is a misuse of God’s name to try to gain knowledge of the future by it. God forbids fortune telling, superstitions, and good luck charms; those who try to bring messages from the dead are deceivers. When all this is done in God’s name, it is especially wicked. God says: “Behold, I am against the prophets…who use their tongues and say, ‘Says the Lord.’” (Jeremiah 23:31)

It is a misuse of God’s name to lie or deceive by it. We are not to use His name to cover up a lie, to get people to believe false religious teachings, or to make people think we are devoted to God when we are not.

 

Our respect and love for God leads us to use his name properly.

 

We use His name rightly in prayer. It is proper to say “God” or “Jesus” in prayer. We may use any of God’s names in prayer. Trusting His promises and His wisdom, we believe: “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)

 

We use His name rightly in praise and thanksgiving. God wants us to tell Him and others what we think of His goodness. This is one of His reasons for choosing us as His own people. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

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