Calling God by Name

7373baptism“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. Exodus 20:7

Our names are precious to us; they identify not only who we are, but also where we come from. Our names remind us of our heritage and serve as a vital link to past generations; they allow us to pin point our niche in the history of our family. When we speak of our relatives, friends and those whom we love we tend to use their names with respect. The closer we are to a person, the more careful we are in using his or her name. Such is the case among God’s people and the relationship we share with our heavenly Father.

As Christian people we have another name by which we are known; Child of God. Through baptism, God claims us to be his children, calls us by name and includes us within the history of his people. The relationship established by God is such that he reveals his name unto us that we may worship him, give thanks and call upon him in times of need. Just as we use the names of those we love in endearing ways, we ought to consider the ways in which we use the holy name of God.

Christians call out to God in various ways. When we pray we often use names such as Lord, Christ, Savior, Creator, or most times we simply call him God. Often times we use adjectives such as almighty, everlasting, gracious, and loving. These are all terms of endearment we use to show our great love for God. The ability to call upon God by name is a great privilege, but one that comes with great responsibility. God gives us his name that we might live in close relationship with him and with his people. And in the giving of his law, God reminds us of our duty to use his name with respect.

Within his small catechism, Martin Luther teaches the Church that we are to fear and love God so that we do not use God’s name superstitiously, or to curse, swear, lie, or deceive, but to call upon God in prayer, praise and thanksgiving. When we pray, we may want to ask God to help us always use his name in endearing ways, to help us examine our close relationship with God, and to use God’s name to bless others rather than curse. Pray for the church around the world, that all may come to know God and rightly call upon his name in praise and thanksgiving.

Almighty God, you revealed your name unto us that we may call upon you. Help us to use your name in faithful ways, that we may tell other of your grace. Amen.

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