Today I continue this little unplanned series on the third commandment. A few days ago we had Childs and yesterday we had Mohler. Today I have a selection from Calvin’s Institues of the Christian Religion interpreting this commandment, “You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain”:

The purpose of this commandment is: God wills that we hallow the majesty of his name. Therefore, it meansin brief that we are not to profane his name by treating it contemptuously and irreverently. To this prohibition duly corresponds the commandment that we should be zealous and careful to honor his name with godly reverence. Therefore we ought to be so disposed in mind and speech that we neither think nor say anything concerning God and his mysteries, without reverence and much soberness; that in estimating his works we conceive nothing but what is honorable to him.

We must, in my opinion, diligently observe the three following points: First, whatever our mind conceives of God, whatever our tongue utters, should savor of his excellence, match the loftiness of his sacred name, and lastly, serve to glorify his greatness. Secondly, we should not rashly or perversely abuse his Holy Word and worshipful mysteries either for the sake of our own ambition, or greed, or amusement; but, as they bear the dignity of his name imprinted upon them, they should ever be honored and prized among us. Finally, we should not defame or detract from his works, as miserable men are wont abusively to cry out against him; but whatever we recognize as done by him we should speak of with praise of his wisdom, righteousness, and goodness. That is what it means to hallow God’s name.*

And to think that some advocates of contemporary worship call themselves Calvinists.


*Institutes of the Christian Religion 2.8.22 (ed. and trans. Ford Lewis Battles; LCC 20; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960),