The Honor Of The 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) "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." (Ex. 20:16)
God protects by these laws the honor of His Name and the honor of our names. "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches," and to misrepresent either His or our neighbor's name is a terrible sin.
God has been pleased, by His grace, to put His Name on each of His children. Only His children, in a very real sense, can take the name of the Lord "thy God" in vain, for He has not given His Name to any other. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Every unbeliever is without God and without hope in this world. Only His children, who bear His Name, can dishonor that worthy Name by which they have been called. (Jer. 15:16; Acts 11:26) The early disciples rejoiced because they "were counted worthy to suffer shame for His great Name's sake." It is true that the unbelieving world uses His Name as a curse word, but they do not dishonor His Name in so doing, but dishonor their own.
God has given His Son a Name which is above every name. We should seek grace daily to honor that worthy Name. The Lord Jesus specifically declared that many who have preached in His Name and done many wonderful works in His Name never had His Name at all. "Depart from Me, I never knew you," are His condemning words to all who lay claim to a name that is not theirs. It is true that the worst enemy of a good cause is the one who badly misrepresents it. Christ's professed followers, who are not His at all, as well as those who truly are His but fall into sin, both do dishonor to His Name. The prayer of Charles Wesley should be ours daily:
My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To tell through all the earth abroad,
The honors of Thy Name.
It is wickedness to dishonor His Name, but it is also wickedness to dishonor our neighbor's good name. We can do this by deliberate or even unintentional gossip. We can do this by adding or subtracting from the truth. Exaggeration is a form of lying. By judging our brother's motives, appearances, or hear-say we can do a grave injustice to our brethren.
There is nothing better that we can pass on to our children than a good name, and there is no better way that we can represent the Lord Jesus than to pass on His Name honorably by lives devoted to Him, so that others seeing us may see Him manifested in our mortal bodies. Let us never forget that we have two names to protect -- His and our neighbor's. He will not hold us guiltless if we misrepresent either.
Elliot Van Ryn
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