Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Name Above All Names.
Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. ESV
In this “command” our Heavenly Father gives us the gift of his name. Not to use to curse our fellow humans as all of us do either out loud or in our hearts but rather as a family name. In Holy Baptism the Name Father, Son and Holy Spirit is invoked following the institution of Jesus. This is most certainly adoption just like a human man and woman give an infant their name in that legal process.
Prior to this adoption we are only the children of Adam. The only inheritance we have of our natural parents is hell. This damnation remains our lot until God in his mercy moves our lineage to his own through faith. We can know for certain that this is ours because of the sacrament. Unfortunately many Christians miss this assurance because of misinformation given them either by malicious religious teachers or those who know no better. Without this knowledge one is forever looking for inward feelings or outward works to know whether he or she is truly God’s child. What a pity.
Galatians 3:23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. ESV
To the Galatians, a church beset by false doctrine of works righteousness, St Paul did not point to the law as knowing whether a person was saved or not but rather his or her baptism into Christ. An outward, material and referable gift whereby one can know he or she is redeemed. No more measuring oneself against moral commands or level of good works to see evidence of ones identity.
This is also useful in defending us from our adversary the devil. Part of the game plan of the devil is to accuse a person and distract him from serving his neighbour by casting doubt and turning the attention inward. So good is he at plying that trade she may despair of even going to worship for fear others “know” these things which are in her life and will judge her harshly.
70] On the other hand, they should be constantly urged and incited to honor God's name, and to have it always upon their lips in everything that may happen to them or come to their notice. For that is the true honor of His name, to look to it and implore it for all consolation, so that (as we have heard above) first the heart by faith gives God the honor due Him, and afterwards the lips by confession.
71] This is also a blessed and useful habit and very effectual against the devil, who is ever about us, and lies in wait to bring us into sin and shame, calamity and trouble, but who is very loath to hear God's name, and cannot remain long where it is uttered and called upon from the heart. And, indeed, many a terrible and shocking calamity would befall us if, by our calling upon His name, God did not preserve us.
72] I have myself tried it, and learned by experience that often sudden great calamity was immediately averted and removed during such invocation. To vex the devil, I say, we should always have this holy name in our mouth, so that he may not be able to injure us as he wishes.
In the above sections from the Large Catechism of Martin Luther he has shown how having the blessed name of God on our lips is very useful way to defeat the devil’s ways. In my life I have learned to invoke the Name of the trinity daily and several times a day while making the sign of the Holy Cross. This works and is in no way superstitious as some would suppose and teach. This is not to be done to be seen of men but rather to be seen of the host of darkness round about us seeking to undo us in our daily activities.
Thanks be to God. Amen. †