The Second Commandment
Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men; but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven men. And whoever says a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall say it against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age, nor in that to come.
TCR 297. In the natural sense, which is the sense of the letter, to take the name of Jehovah God in vain means the name itself, and its abuse in various kinds of conversation, especially in false speaking or lying, and in useless oaths or oaths to free oneself from blame of evil intentions (which are cursing), also when used in sorceries and incantations. But to swear by God and His holiness, by the Word or the Gospel, at coronations, inaugurations into the priesthood, and inductions into offices of trust, is not taking the name of God in vain, unless he who takes the oath afterwards discards his promises as vain.
Moreover, the name of God, because it is holiness itself, must be used continually in the holy things pertaining to the church... This is so because God is in all things of religion, and when He is solemnly invoked [or called upon] He is present through His name and hears. In such ways the name of God is hallowed... That the name of Jesus is in like manner holy is known from the saying of the Apostle that at this name every knee is bowed or should be bowed in heaven and on earth*; and furthermore from this, that no devil in hell can utter that name...
TCR 298. In the spiritual sense, the name of God means everything which the church teaches from the Word, and by which the Lord is called upon and worshiped. All such things in the complex are the name of God. "To take the name of God in vain," means, therefore, to introduce any of these things into frivolous conversation, into false speaking, lying, curses, sorceries or incantations; for this too is reviling and blaspheming God, thus His name. That the Word and whatever the church has from it, and thus all worship, is the name of God, can be seen from the following passages...
Jesus said, Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them (Matt. 18:20).
As many as received Him, to them He gave power to become sons of God, even to them that believe in His name (John 1:12)...
Believing, they shall have life in His name (John 20:31)...
TCR 299. In the celestial sense, “to take the name of God in vain” means what the Lord said to the Pharisees [in Matthew 12:31–32, quoted above]... "Blasphemy of the Spirit" means blasphemy against the Divinity of the Lord’s Human and against the holiness of the Word. That the Divine Human of the Lord is meant by the name of Jehovah God in the celestial or highest sense, is evident from the following passages: Jesus said, Father, glorify Thy name. And there came a voice out of heaven, saying, I have glorified it, and will glorify it again (John 12:28)...
In the Lord’s Prayer, “Hallowed be Thy name” (Matt. 6:9) has the same meaning in the celestial sense.
TCR 300. That the name of anyone means not just his name but his every quality, is evident from the use of names in the spiritual world. No man there retains the name he received in baptism, or that of his father or ancestry in the world; but everyone is there named according to his character, and angels are named according to their moral and spiritual life.... Moreover in the natural world a name does not mean just the person’s name only, but his character also, because this adheres to his name. For in common conversation it is customary to say, "He is doing this for the sake of his name" ...or "This man has a great name," meaning that he is renowned for such things as are in him, as for talents, learning, merits, and so on. Who does not know that he who reviles and slanders anyone in name also reviles and slanders the actions of his life? ...So again he who mentions the name of another in a tone of contempt, at the same time belittles the acts of his life... According to the laws of all kingdoms it is not lawful to sully and wound with slander anyone’s name, that is, his character and consequent reputation.
* Philippians 2:10
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
- What do you think is meant by “a word against the Son of Man,” which can be forgiven, as compared with “blasphemy of the Spirit,” which cannot?
- The “name” of God stands for all of His qualities, as revealed to us in His Word. What are some of the Lord’s qualities? How do you think of Him when you pray?
- When we notice people being unable or unwilling to believe in and commit themselves to a religious life in some respect, we may reflect that if they are not ready yet, it is a very good thing that they are held back from taking steps forward but then turning back and possibly mixing belief with unbelief, etc.