(Kersten, The Heidelberg Catechism in 52 Sermons, Vol.2, Part 21)

Hallowing God's Name

Lord's Day 47

Psalter No. 429 st. 1, 3
Read Psalm 33
Psalter No. 187 st. 1-4
Psalter No. 422 st. 6
Psalter No. 173 st. 3-6


    According to the opinion of the best commentators, the Psalm which
was read to you, is a psalm of David. One of their main arguments is
that as far as the contents of this psalm is concerned, it is one with
Psalm 32, in which King David sang about the great salvation of the
righteous. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is
covered. Then in Psalm 33, David goes on to excite the righteous to
rejoice in the Lord, because He has demonstrated His omnipotence in the
realm of nature in His acts of preservation, cooperation and
government. He excites them also in a special way to rejoice in that
God, Who is a God of salvation for the people whom He has chosen as His
own inheritance, a Help and a Shield, a Deliverer from death and a
Preserver of life. Accordingly, we read in verse 12: "Blessed is the
nation whose God is the Lord." It is a beatitude for the Lord's people.
Not the crowned heads and the rulers of the world, not the shields of
the princes of the earth, not the priests among Israel, not the people
of Israel whose national pride lay in having Abraham for their fathers
none of these are called blessed; but, "blessed is the nation whose God
is the Lord."
    A nation is a political community of people under one head with one
language, governed by one law and enjoying the same privileges. Thus
God has chosen one nation for His inheritance, a nation ruled by one
Head, the glorified Mediator at the right hand of the Father; speaking
one language, the language of Canaan; taught by the Holy Spirit;
governed by one law, the Word of the living God, which is the guide for
their life and conduct; enjoying the same privileges, namely, the
covenant goods which were merited for them by their Head, and that
goodness which God has laid up for them that fear Him. It is such a
nation that God has chosen in eternity for His own inheritance. He has
chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, a people created
in Christ Jesus unto good works, a people that are kept by the power of
God unto salvation. Of that nation God is the Lord. He is Jehovah, the
God of the oath and of the covenant, Who revealed Himself to that
nation as the "I Am That I Am." He is the unchangeable and faithful
One, Who never lets any of the good words that He has spoken for that
nation fall to the ground, for "I am the Lord, I change not, therefore
ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." That nation He has chosen for His
own inheritance. To what end? To that end that in them He might glorify
Himself forever in the perfection of His divine mercy. Has He Himself
not spoken, "This people have I formed for Myself, they shall show
forth My praise"? He will glorify Himself in them eternally. God's
inheritance is His glory. By grace they also seek God's glory which is
dearer to them than their own salvation. It is God Himself Who works in
His people a holy desire for the hallowing of God's Name, as Christ has
also taught His church to pray, "Hallowed be Thy Name."
    We must now discuss this first petition of the Lord's Prayer, as it
is explained for us in Lord's Day forty-seven.
    Lord's Day 47
Q. 122. Which is the first petition?

A. "Hallowed be Thy Name"; that is, grant us, first, rightly to know
    thee, and to sanctify, glorify and praise thee, in all thy works,
    in which thy power, wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy and truth,
    are clearly displayed; and further also, that we may so order and
    direct our whole lives, our thoughts, words and actions, that thy
    name may never be blasphemed, but rather honored and praised on
    our account.
    This Lord's Day speaks of the glorification of God, sought by the
supplicant for the hallowing of God's Name. Let us notice particularly
the following points:
      I. what is meant by God's Name;
     II. what the supplicant desires for the hallowing of this Name;
    III. what the supplicant fears.
    By God's Name we mean the Divine Essence itself.
    What the supplicant desires is this, that he may sanctify, glorify
and praise God's Name in all His works, both in nature and in grace.
    What the supplicant fears is the desecration of God's Name by his
departing from God's law. Therefore he prays: Grant that we may so
order and direct our whole lives, our thoughts, words and actions, that
Thy Name may never be blasphemed, but rather honored and praised on our
    In the previous Lord's Day we discussed the address of this prayer:
"Our Father, which art in heaven." In the explanation of this address
the instructor taught us that immediately, in the very beginning of our
prayer, the Lord would excite in us a childlike reverence for and
confidence in God, so that we shall come to Him, believing that He is,
and that He is a rewarder of them that seek Him.
    At this time I shall not say much concerning the question, whether
it is fitting for an unconverted person to pray the Lord's Prayer. Read
what Rev. Smytegelt says of it in his explanation of the Catechism. I
have recently remarked that you might ask whether an unconverted person
may sing what is written in the Psalms, because the Psalms refer to the
church of God. May an unconverted person learn the answers, as we are
taught in our Catechism: "it is my only comfort in life and death that
with body and soul I am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior,
Jesus Christ?" You see for yourself what the result would be if we
would say, "You may not pray the Lord's Prayer when you are
unconverted." I would call to your attention that he who addresses God
as his Father must have an access by faith in Christ. You might exclude
many concerned persons when you say, "You may not pray the Lord's
Prayer." But let our hearts be directed, as we shall hear in this
Lord's Day, to seek the Lord and rightly to know Him. The instructor
then commences the explanation of the six petitions of the Lord's
Prayer. Three petitions are directed to the glorification of God, and
three to the fulfillment of our needs for both soul and body. The first
petition begins with these words: Hallowed be Thy Name.
    When we discussed the third commandment, we dwelt on the
significance of God's Name. Therefore I can be very brief in my first
main point, for we have seen in Scripture that God has revealed Himself
in His Name; that in that Name God has made His Essence known to us;
that the Essence of God is expressed in that Name, in other words, the
Name of God is the Essence of God itself. God needs no name to
distinguish Himself from other creatures or gods who might be like Him.
That is so with human beings; but the Lord is one God, and there is
none like unto Him.
    It has pleased the Lord to give Himself various Names which were
not given Him by others, but which He gave Himself in Scripture to
become known to His people. Thus He is the only, true God, and the
unchangeable and faithful covenant Jehovah; the almighty Creator of
heaven and earth; but also the God of salvation for His people.
Therefore the Lord said to Jacob as he wrestled in Peniel, "Wherefore
is it that thou dost ask after My Name?" We also read how the angel of
the Lord answered and said to Manoah, after he had revealed Himself to
him, "Why askest thou thus after My Name, seeing it is secret?"
    The Lord glorifies Himself in His Name and makes known the
greatness of It, as He showed Himself to Moses when He set him upon a
rock and proclaimed His Name for him, "The Lord, The Lord God, merciful
and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth." Here
God gave Himself a Name. Thus there is in this Name, not only a
revelation of the Essence of God, but also in the Name of God lies His
revelation for the salvation of the elect, enabling them to rejoice in
and praise His Name in order that the Lord may be glorified in them.
Thus they learn to know God's Name and it becomes their petition:
"Hallowed be Thy Name."
    What does the petition for the hallowing of God's Name mean? You
can gather from the explanation of the instructor, that the
significance of the petition flows out of the significance of the Name
itself. Hallowed be Thy Name; that is, grant us, first, rightly to know
Thee. We do not know God, even though we have received His Word, and
were instructed in His truth. In our hearts we are strangers to God,
although He has given each person, even the blind heathen, an innate
knowledge of God and in addition an acquired knowledge from the
creatures round about us. Paul speaks of these matters in Romans 1,
saying, "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them.
For the invisible things of Him are clearly seen, being understood by
the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead."
    Man is born with the consciousness that there is a Supreme Being.
Because of this religion is found in the remotest areas of the world.
However our understanding was darkened by our deep fall in Adam,
therefore we do not know the only true God. That innate knowledge of
God is increased by means of creatures outside of us. This acquired
knowledge exceeds the inborn knowledge. The acquired knowledge goes so
far that one of the heathen poets said, "For we are also His
offspring." How much more will that knowledge be increased when we
receive the revelation of God in His Word. If the heathens spoke in
that manner, how much more acquired knowledge shall we have from the
Word that is given to us! But as I have already said, that natural
knowledge of God, whether innate or acquired, is insufficient for
salvation. With our understanding we can never comprehend or properly
know the mysteries of God as He must be known for salvation. To prove
that this supernatural knowledge is necessary for salvation is evident
from what the Lord Jesus said: "This is life eternal that they might
know Thee the only true God and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent." Is
it not written in Isaiah 53, "By His knowledge"--meaning by the
knowledge of Him"--shall My righteous Servant justify many"? This
speaks of a supernatural knowledge that we do not have of ourselves. It
is worth our praise that knowledge may be had from the Holy Scripture
and delight in meditating on the Word. However, we must always remember
that this true knowledge must be given of God.
    Therefore the Lord Jesus taught His church to pray, "Hallowed be
Thy Name"; that is, "Grant us rightly to know Thee." How does God grant
us that knowledge of Him? This by special revelation. That special
revelation is recorded in the Word, but it must be accompanied by the
sanctification of our hearts through the ministration of the Holy
Spirit. The Spirit enlightens our understanding. The Spirit not only
causes us to know ourselves in our lost state in which we live by
nature, but also to know Him as the only true God, as He is holy and
righteous, and can have no communion with the sinner outside of the
    Then we learn to see ourselves excluded from His communion, and in
our own opinion subject to eternal death, so that we cry out with the
poet of Psalm 36: "Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy
judgments are a great deep." It is a knowledge of God that humbles us
before Him and teaches us to justify God in His judgments. Then we
learn to know that we are hell worthy before God. On the other hand,
the Lord opens the riches of His mercy in Christ Jesus, so that we
learn to know Him as the God of eternal salvation in the Mediator.
    This blessed knowledge we cannot give each other. This knowledge
you cannot learn in any school or academy. This knowledge is acquired
in the school of the Teacher of righteousness. He it is that teaches as
one having authority, not as the scribes, and continues to instruct His
people more and more as He is sitting at the Father's right hand. There
He not only executes His priestly and kingly office, but also His
prophetical office by the Holy Spirit. That Spirit is given to His
church, and dwells in their hearts to guide them unto all truth, as it
is written. This school of Christ contains so much Divine wisdom that
the people of God can never, never go beyond this prayer: Grant us
rightly to know Thee.
    After the divine instruction concerning their lost state, God's
children learn to glory in their salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ.
They are also brought more and more into the secrets of the covenant
that gives and increases grace in all those that are bought by the
blood of the Lamb, and makes them partakers of that grace. This is the
knowledge that is spoken of here. "Hallowed be Thy Name." This means
that we may properly know that Name in which lies the full Essence of
God. Where this knowledge is given, the greatness and majesty of God is
impressed upon the heart, and the Lord grants an eye to see the works
of God in nature and in grace. This we read in our Catechism: Grant
that we may sanctify, glorify and praise Thee in all Thy works, in
which Thy power, wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy and truth are clearly
displayed. God's omnipotence shines forth in the works of nature. He
has created heaven and earth out of nothing. He shows His omnipotence
in all His works. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the
firmament showeth His handiwork.
    According to Psalm 104, God has laid the foundation of all His
works, of His entire creation, with wisdom. His mercy is great and His
goodness is upon all His creatures wherefore the church exclaims, "Thy
mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto
the clouds." The Lord also shows His righteousness in His judgments,
not only with His old covenant people Israel, but also through the
rolling ages, so that, according to Romans 1, they which commit such
things are worthy of death. See also how great is His mercy, as the
Lord Himself testified when He proclaimed His Name to Moses. His mercy
is twofold: general toward all, and particular toward His elect. He
maintains His truth in the execution of His judgments as well as in the
fulfillment of His promises which He has given to His people, promises
which are yea and Amen in Christ unto the glory of God.
    While I am considering this part of the Catechism with you, I
should like to show the difference between common and special grace.
Common grace is the goodness of God which He shows to all people, not
only to those who live under the Word, but also to the blindest
heathen. God upholds all things by the Word of His power. He is the
Creator and Preserver of all things. In all things He clearly displays
His power, wisdom, goodness, justice and mercy. These attributes of God
show forth so clearly that even the blindest heathen, though he had
never heard of God and His revelation, shall not be able to excuse
Himself before God's judgment seat. Forever, I would observe that this
common grace or goodness does not flow out of the merits of Christ; no,
they are given without reference to Him. The common goodness of God is
rooted in His long suffering and patience. Therefore we prefer to speak
of the forbearance and common goodness rather than common grace. In
this common grace, the Lord gives a positive observation of His works,
wherein He displays His majesty and glory before the eyes of men.
    However, in this petition the reference is not to that general
observation and general knowledge, but to the particular knowledge and
particular understanding of the works of God by the Holy Spirit. Take,
for example, what Paul writes in Romans 11, where he sees the work of
God in the rejection of Israel as a nation and the gathering in of the
Gentiles; but presently in the conversion of the Jew to honour King
Jesus as Messiah, His Prince, and also in the salvation which will
accompany the fulness of the Gentiles, after which the apostle
exclaims, "O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge
of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding
out." There Paul loses himself in the sovereignty of God and he
delights in the riches of His mercy, glorified in God's sovereign ways
in working out that which He had planned in eternity.
    Consider a moment what the poet says in Psalm 25: "Good and upright
is the Lord." This is the exclamation of a broken heart, knowing its
own guilt, observes the goodness of God and is humbled thereby. Out of
the depth of humiliation come the words of praise, "Thy goodness
reaches unto the clouds." Behold how the righteousness of the Lord
becomes the strength of His people when Isaiah says, "Zion shall be
redeemed with judgment." Thus God's people learn to sing not only of
mercy, but also of judgment. By faith God's children delight in the way
in which they are led, when God brings them to the Son of His eternal
good pleasure, through whom He can save sinners while vindicating His
justice, and can lead His elect through the depth of the fall to
eternal glory. Yes, the Lord glorifies Himself in His saints through
righteousness. This petition, "Hallowed be Thy Name", expresses the
sincere desire to obtain the true knowledge of God and the true
observation of His work, in which He glorifies His various attributes.
    "Hallowed be Thy Name." The Lord is said to sanctify Himself. He
sanctifies Himself in the judgments He sends. The prophet says that He
will be sanctified by the heathens. He is sanctified in the midst of
His people Israel when He visits them in His righteousness, visiting
their iniquity with stripes. Thus God sanctifies Himself. God has
always sanctified Himself, because He is perfectly holy in Himself. He
cannot be made more holy than He is in Himself. But He sanctified
Himself when in Christ He glorified the perfections which we offended
by our sins; thereby receiving a perfect satisfaction for His
righteousness, in Him Who loved Himself to death on the accursed tree.
    The angels before His throne hallow Him, crying, "Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord: the whole earth is full of His glory." The redeemed in
heaven sing praises to His Name eternally, praising and glorifying Him
that sitteth upon the throne and the Lamb, bringing Him glory and
honour and blessing. Here on earth there is a people, wrought upon by
the Holy Spirit, who will hallow Him. They are people renewed by the
Holy Spirit, who delight themselves in Him. Oh, beloved, when the Lord
pours out His love and mercy into the heart of His dear people and
works in them a perfect agreement with the attributes of His justice,
followed by a revelation of Himself as the God of salvation, the result
is that they bring honour and glory to Him Who is worthy to receive it
    To be sure, God's people do also complain. O how bitterly do they
complain at times, weep, cry and lament before the Lord. The cry of the
children of Israel went up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.
Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and mourned like a dove and
chattered like a swallow. It is no strange thing for God's people to
complain and lament when God hides His face. On the other hand, the
Lord's deliverances set His people in a large place. Then they praise
their God and King, and with David in Psalm 103 they sing, "Bless the
Lord, all His works, in all places of His dominion; bless the Lord, O
my soul." Sometimes with the poet of Psalm 69, they would call heaven
and earth to help them praise the Lord.
    "Hallowed be Thy Name." In discussing the third commandment we
spoke about cursing the Name of God and about the heartfelt grief God's
people have because of this abuse of the Name of the Lord. It cuts
their soul deeply when this fire out of hell is kindled in their
hearts. On the other hand, it is the delight of the new man to praise
and glorify the Lord, and in the heart lies the right relationship to
heaven. It is a right relationship because it flows forth from the fact
that God's church will be able to serve Him there eternally and
perfectly without sin. That which hurts the soul is iniquity; that
which makes life so distressing is sin within and sin that is seen
round about in a world that lies in wickedness. It is this that fills
them with fear.
    Now I come to my third thought which was to speak of what the true
supplicant fears. He fears that God's Name will be blasphemed because
of him, instead of being honored and praised. Remember that this
petition flows out of the filial fear of God. The true supplicant has
this childlike fear of God in his heart. It is wrought by the love of
God shed abroad in his heart, and this love causes a return of love to
God. This love to God works a true desire that his life and
conversation may be well-pleasing to the Lord. Therein he delights from
the first moment of his conversion. Rev. Vender Kemp says in his
explanation of the Catechism that God's people have the privilege to
live as they choose. Rev. Vender Kemp does not mean this in the
antinomian sense, but rather that it has become their choice to live
perfectly before God. The Lord's people delight in keeping all God's
commandments perfectly. As I have said, this inward desire flows out of
filial fear.
    In the beginning of our spiritual life, we may be busy with many
legal works. But the root of all those activities is the life which God
has implanted in the heart. That life, after it has shed the shell of
the law, begins to manifest itself more in dependence upon the ministry
of the Holy Spirit. More and more God's children find themselves in
ways in which they need the Lord, in order to hate and flee from sin.
After all, what is the danger which the church of God constantly faces?
It is the danger that sin will obtain the dominion over her. The church
was delivered from the dominion of sin, when God called His chosen from
death unto life in the time of love. Never again will sin have full
dominion. In their hearts there is a cleaving to sin, in their
thoughts, in their will, and in their feelings. The sins that cleave to
them are the reason that their life of fellowship with God is broken;
their prayers become faint, and they do not seek the protection of
their King. Therefore, God's children sometimes walk in paths of
unrighteousness. Then it can be said of them as it was said of David,
he gave great occasion to the enemies to blaspheme. The world watches
God's people very closely and takes occasion from their sins to
blaspheme God and to desecrate His Name, as well as His service. O,
what grief is experienced by God's children because of the corruption
which dwells within them. Sometimes, while engaged in their work, they
have fear lest another should detect in their words what is going on in
their hearts. Grant us rightly to know Thee, is a sincere prayer to
have the knowledge of God in the exercises of the heart, thereby to
stand guard more and more lest we be overcome by evil, and lest we
forget that at all times the enemy is spying upon us wherever we go.
    So it is that we always need the protection of the King, His
safeguard round about us, and the constant atonement through the blood
of the great High Priest, Who is seated at the right hand of His
Father. However, the sins that cleave unto us lie not only in words and
works, but also in thoughts; for God desires truth in the inward parts.
Hence the need for this prayer, "Grant us rightly to know Thee", in
order that it may become the exercise of soul constantly to fear the
Lord, and the practical way of life to abide and walk near to God. This
is necessary, shall we find all our delight in Him alone Who is the God
of salvation, find more and more our strength in God's Word. This is
necessary, because God's people do not always live in the enjoyment of
the favour and the evidences of God's love.
    There will be times when the spiritual life of sense will be
overturned, as it were. There will be other times for those who have
found the foundation of their faith in Christ. Those changes come
because the Lord wishes to teach them to walk by faith and not by
sight. Did not the Lord Jesus say to Mary, "Touch Me not, for I am not
yet ascended to My Father." Mary wanted to live in the same communion
with Christ in which she had lived before His death. But now He stands
before her, arisen from the grave. For Mary this is the beginning of a
different life, a different way of life. It is as though Jesus had said
to her, "I am going to heaven, and you will not enjoy My bodily
presence any longer. I ascend unto My Father. I am going to that God
Who sent Me. Another way of life is laid away for you, Mary." What then
is the nature of that life? Oh, it is often a life of severed strife
and wrestling of soul, in order that one may walk by simple faith in
the strength of the eternal King and blessed Emmanuel. His dominion is
within the heart so the heart may be sanctified and purified, and
Christ have a place in the meditations of the heart as the Conqueror of
sin, hell and death; in order that He may be feared; and in order that
they may have their delight in God. Therefore it is necessary that they
study the Scripture to know those revelations in His Word, shall His
Word alone be a lamp for their feet and a light upon their path.
    What the instructor gives us by way of explanation of the first
petition, is entirely in line with the practical life of God's people.
It is obvious that the main objective is God's glory, in all His
perfections in Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit, in the hearts of His
children. What we are to aim at, what we are to emphasize at all times
in the explanation of the prayer, "Hallowed be Thy Name," is that God
may be glorified in His people, in order that His three in One Holy
Name may receive the praise and the thanksgiving of His people, also in
this life which is the scene of strife. For our King is by Israel's God
exalted. Let us sing this together: Psalter No. 422:6
    Thou art, O God, our boast, the glory of our power;
    Thy sovereign grace is e'er our fortress and our tower.
    We lift our heads aloft, for God, our shield is o'er us;
    Through Him, through Him alone, whose presence goes before us,
    We'll wear the victor's crown no more by foes assaulted,
    We'll triumph through our King, by Israel's God exalted.
    There is both an inborn knowledge and an acquired knowledge of God.
May all this knowledge cause you to walk close to the light of God's
Word. Let that Word cast its full light upon you. Let that Word occupy
your thoughts, and let it be your guide in all your actions. Always
bear in mind that whatever goes astray from the Word will not see
light, however acceptable it may be in the world. It is a house of
cards and will certainly collapse. It is very necessary to gather all
the knowledge we can from the Scriptures, so that we may learn to
perceive the works of God in nature and in grace, and may observe His
divine attributes, namely: the tender mercy and compassion which He
shows, the loving kindness which He bestows and the righteousness which
He manifests in the pouring out of His judgments, to exclaim with the
poet, "O God, Thou art terrible out of Thy Holy places." Ps. 68:35a.
All of this may be in our hearts, however; but without the saving
enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, we remain enemies to God. Above the
altar of the Athenians there was written: "To the Unknown God." This is
the God whom we call upon by nature. For us He is an unknown God.
However orthodox our confession may be, unless we are united to Christ
by faith, we are strangers to God. Hence this petition for the
hallowing of God's Name in which we ask, "Grant us rightly to know
Thee." Let this bring you upon your knees even in your unconverted
state, saying, "Lord, work not a superficial knowledge in me, not a
presumptive knowledge; but work in me that blessed knowledge, which is
a knowledge of Thee, a true knowledge, so that I may see Thee in Thy
divine majesty and glory." Such a sight will cut off all that is of
man, will lay upon us the burden of our guilt, and will cause us to
acknowledge that we are lost. Then we cannot stand before God. Only
when this takes place do we learn to know God in His mercy in Christ
Jesus, through Whom God's name is hallowed, and Who said, "Father, I
have glorified Thy Name on the earth." In this way, God's Name is not
only hallowed in Him, but also received eternal glory, whereas we have
profaned that Name and injured the perfections of God by all our sins.
    May the Lord impress it upon our hearts that one thing is needful:
heart-renewing grace and the enlightening of the Holy Spirit. In a
word, we must be converted to God. A divine miracle must take place
within. You may say, "That is old-fashioned." On the contrary, it will
remain a new fashion until the last day. Without regeneration no one
will enter the kingdom of God. We cannot know God except by the
enlightening of the Holy Spirit. Anyone who thinks he can judge the way
with his own understanding will soon find his hopes deceived, and then
it will be dreadful to be banished forever from communion with God. Oh,
that in our early days we might learn to pray sincerely, "O Lord,
hallowed be Thy Name. Grant that we may rightly know Thee." Also as we
grow older or come to old age, when we see death approaching, it ought
to weigh heavily upon our hearts that we are unprepared to meet God. We
should become desirous for the miracle of His grace so we may learn to
know of another life in which we experience that God is a God of
eternal salvation for His elect. For this reason God gives His Word and
grants the common enlightening of His Spirit. To that end we have the
knowledge of revelation, to be used in placing ourselves under the
means. We have that knowledge to use to manifest it in the seriousness
of our lives, and in the forsaking of all that draws us away from the
living God, so that we should set our hearts upon eternal things. The
first fruit of the revelation of God, of the hallowing of His Name, in
the knowledge of Him, is that we became united to God. Cain fled away,
saying, "My punishment is greater than I can bear." He showed that he
did not know God's Name. God is not a God of terror, but a God of
    On the one hand God does make His church to languish under His
displeasure against their sins, notwithstanding the promises and
experiences they may have had; but on the other hand He reveals Himself
as the God of salvation. While He reveals His wrath, He draws the soul
sweetly to Himself with the cords of love, so that all the affections
of the soul pant after communion with God. To live apart from God is
worse than death. Thus the prayer is born, "Lord, grant that I may
rightly know Thee."
    People of God, who mourn over your sins, who see yourselves
perishing in your lost condition before God, let it be the constant
prayer of your hearts: "Hallowed be Thy Name." Then God will glorify
Himself according to His eternal good pleasure, and will work in your
hearts that knowledge of Him which is life eternal. Then you will learn
to see His majesty and glory, His works and His deeds, so that being
humbled thereby you will find your salvation in Him Who has glorified
all the offended attributes of God. He did this for the eternal
salvation of that people whom He has received for His inheritance. It
is the great object of all God's works to glorify Himself. The
salvation of His people serves to that end. It also serves to show the
stirrings of our sinful nature and the separations which arise between
Him and our soul. The result will be the eternal glory of God in those
who are lost, as well as in those who will one day inherit salvation
through the eternal good pleasure of God.
    When God hallows His Name in our lives we become nothing. Then we
lose all hope in self, but we come to love His honour and His Name more
than our own salvation. Is this not a salutary exercise for God's dear
people? Grant us rightly to know Thee. Grant that we may see the
greatness of Thy works in nature and in grace, to sink away in
admiration and to adore God even in His judgments. For He is worthy to
receive the praise, the adoration and the blessing to all eternity. Do
not forget that the hallowing of God's Name in our lives carries with
it a fear for sin. O people of God, that which is demanded of all men,
is demanded especially of you, "Beware of sin!" Conditions within may
be the same as is written of Job, "In all this Job sinned not." God had
taken away everything by the hand of Satan. Job said, "Blessed be the
Name of the Lord." But then you read, "In all this did not Job sin with
his lips." But within Job was dissatisfied, and quickly it became
evident. Soon he broke out and cursed the day of his birth. He felt
deeply forsaken of God and then he began to depart from the Lord. The
lively exercises of faith became weak. Oh, that the Lord might bind us
continually to the throne of grace. What I say unto you, I say unto
all: Watch!
    May He Himself place us upon the watch-tower where we may watch
closely the stirrings in our corrupt hearts, in order that His dear
Name may never be blasphemed because of us. If men speak evil of you,
make sure they do so falsely. Exercise yourselves in laying all things
openly before the Lord, all your thoughts and meditations, and all your
evil inclinations. Even the subtle purposes of the children of darkness
round about us are not hidden from God. We cannot judge another's
intentions, but God can. He knows the hearts of the enemies, but also
the hearts of His dear ones. God grant that we may walk cautiously. May
He grant that our words be few. May the Lord set a watch before our
mouths, and keep the doors of our lips, so that His Name be not
blasphemed. May He keep us from falling into sin. Dreadful examples of
this are described in the Bible. May He set a watch on all sides of us,
hedge us in, and be a wall of fire round about us, in order that He may
cause us continually to seek the hallowing of His Name. May God glorify
Himself in us according to the greatness of His mercy and clothe us
with much humility before Him. There you have the contents of this
    We are not to be lifted up with pride because of grace received.
When Israel, according to Ezekiel 16 had become great, and grew proud,
the Lord resisted them in His wrath. When we become great in our
justification, and exalt ourselves above others, we are very far from
home. Then we do not exercise the dependence which is taught in the
school of Christ. God grant us impressions of His perfections. Then
there is a seeking, a thirsting, an expectation and a longing for
perfection. The Lord Jesus says to His people, "Be ye therefore
perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
    Oh, how precious is that yearning for perfection, and that constant
warfare, which the apostle testifies so clearly saying, "The flesh
lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, but I
follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am
apprehended of Christ Jesus." God's people follow after and persevere
in the strength of Christ. They strive for the perfect glorification of
God, which will come one day when He will take His people up in glory
and cause them to sit eternally at the marriage supper of the Lamb,
clothed in white raiment which was made white in His blood. There sin
will be no more. God grant us the exercises of faith to find our
strength in Him, Who as the Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered
eternally, and in Whom we are more than conquerors. May that King lead
His afflicted and poor people in those ways wherein the Name of the
Lord will be hallowed in them. Amen.

Kersten, Heidelberg Catechism in 52 Sermons, Vol.2
(continued in part 22...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: krhc2-21.txt