THE

SHORTER CATECHISM

EXPLAINED


QUESTION 56. What is the reason annexed to the Third Commandment?

ANSWER: The reason annexed to the Third Commandment is, that however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment.


Q. 1. Are there any arguments against taking God's name in vain, couched in the preceptive part of this commandment?

A. Yes; he whose name we are forbidden to take in vain, is the LORD OUR GOD; "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy GOD in vain."

Q. 2. What is the force of the argument taken from his being the Lord or JEHOVAH?

A. That his infinite essential glory and excellency should fill us with the greatest reverence and humility, when we think or speak of any thing by which he makes himself known, Psalm 83:18.

Q. 3. What is the force of the argument taken from his being our God?

A. That his making himself over to us in the covenant of promise, as our reconciled God and Father in Christ, should lay us under the strongest obligation to a holy and reverential use of his name, Ex. 15:2.

Q. 4. What is the particular reason expressly subjoined or annexed to this commandment?

A. It is in these words, by way of threatening: For the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Q. 5. What is the import of the threatening, "the Lord will not hold him guiltless?"

A. It imports, that he will surely hold him guilty in a peculiar manner, who presumes to profane or abuse his name, so that divine vengeance shall be infallibly certain against him, Zech. 5:3.

Q. 6. In what light does the scripture represent those who take God's name in vain?

A. It represents them as his open and avowed enemies, Psalm 139:20 -- "Thine ENEMIES take thy name in vain."

Q. 7. How does it appear that divine vengeance is infallibly certain against the profaners of God's name?

A. It appears from the very terms of the threatening, The Lord WILL NOT hold him guiltless; that is, as sure as there will be a judgment seat, before which sinners must appear; so sure it is, that this sin shall then be taken particular notice of, as a main article of the indictment, Mal. 3:5.

Q. 8. Why do the breakers of this commandment escape punishment from men?

A. Because many of those to whom the administration of justice is committed, being themselves guilty, do therefore show no concern for vindicating the honour of God's name in punishing the profaners of it.

Q. 9. Why will not the Lord our God suffer them to escape his righteous judgment?

A. Because, if heathens are highly punishable for this crime, as contrary to one of the first dictates of nature's light, Rom. 1:32, much more, among Christians; the manifestation of God's name in Christ being the greatest blessing, John 15:22, their profaning or abusing of it, must be the greatest sin, Amos 3:2.


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