Making God’s Name Holy —
Either it was too cold in December to do anything meaningful in Presbyterian history or December being the last month of the year was filled with advent activities — we are not sure — but there is more than one or two dates where we return to the Shorter Catechism once again. And we begin on this day of December 14, by considering our Confessional Fathers explanation of the familiar petitions of that which is commonly called the Lord’s Prayer. Question? Do you really understand Christian, what you are saying when you utter the Lord’s Prayer during your worship service or during a private moment?
Shorter Catechism answer 101 teaches us that “in the first petition, which is, Hallowed by thy name, we pray that God would enable us, and others, to glorify Him in all that whereby he makes himself known, and that he would dispose all things to his own glory.”
After drawing near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father, indeed as the children of God to our heavenly Father, believing that He is able and ready to help us, we begin with this upward direction of adoration. Hallowed be Your name, we pray.
The word “hallowed” is the same root as “holy,” or “sanctify.” Set your Name apart in our hearts, heavenly Father. Enable us to glorify You in creation, in providence, in redemption, in other words, in everything whereby You make Himself known. “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (KJV), the Psalmist commands in Psalm 96:8, 9. Remember, from that magnificence very first catechism, this is our chief and main duty in life, to “glorify God.”
Then since He is in control of all things, and nothing occurs outside His powerful sovereignty, we pray that He will by His upholding, directing, and governing all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, dispose everything to His own glory.
Words to live by: Make it a challenging spiritual exercise to cause the Name of God to be set apart in all that you do in life. Indeed, make it a challenging discovery to find how God has set apart His own name in His divine actions on this earth. Either spiritual exercise will add to your spiritual growth, magnify the name of God in a world which doesn’t care to even acknowledge His existence, and cause opportunities for witness to your unsaved family and friends. Let us set the Lord always before us. Hallowed be Thy Name.
Through the Scriptures: Hebrews 11 – 13
Through the Standards: The jurisdiction of church assemblies
“Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.”
For further study: The above paragraph from the Westminster Confession of Faith is an excellent summary of that doctrine known as the spirituality of the Church. It teaches that the Church is not to be involved as a participant in political affairs. That is not to say that individual Christians shouldn’t be good citizens and participate in government, but the Church, as the Church, should never be aligned with a political faction. Such alignment invariably hinders and even damages our biblical work of proclaiming the Gospel of salvation in Christ alone. Nor does this doctrine teach that the Church cannot speak to the moral issues of the day. It should, and it must.