The Second and Third Commandments of God

Lesson 18 from the Baltimore Cathechism

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224. What is the second commandment of God?

The second commandment of God is: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that shall take the name of the Lord in vain. (Exodus 20:7)

225. What are we commanded by the second commandment?

By the second commandment we are commanded always to speak with reverence of God, of the saints, and of holy things, and to be truthful in taking oaths and faithful to them and to our vows.

Blessed be the name of the Lord both now and forever. From the rising of the sun unto its going down, may the name of the Lord be praised. (Psalm 112:2-3)

226. What is an oath?

An oath is the calling on God to witness the truth of what we say.

For men swear by one greater than themselves, and an oath given as a guarantee is the final settlement of all their disagreement. (Hebrews 6:16)

227. What things are necessary to make an oath lawful?

To make an oath lawful, three things are necessary: first, we must have a good reason for taking an oath; second, we must be convinced that what we say under oath is true; third, we must not swear, that is, take an oath, to do what is wrong.

And thou shalt swear: As the Lord liveth, in truth, and in judgment and in justice. (Jeremiah 4:2)

228. What great sin does a person commit who deliberately calls on God to bear witness to a lie?

A person who deliberately calls on God to bear witness to a lie commits the very grievous sin of perjury.

Thou shalt not swear falsely by my name, nor profane the name of thy God. (Leviticus 19:12)

229. What is a vow?

A vow is a deliberate promise made to God by which a person binds himself under pain of sin to do something that is especially pleasing to God.

When thou hast made a vow to the Lord thy God, thou shalt not delay to pay it; because the Lord thy God will require it. (Deuteronomy 23:21)

230. What is meant by taking God's name in vain?

By taking God's name in vain is meant that the name of God or the holy name of Jesus Christ is used without reverence; for example, to express surprise or anger.

Blessed be the name of the Lord both now and forever. From the rising of the sun unto its going down, may the name of the Lord be praised. (Psalm 112:2-3)

231. Is it a sin to take God's name in vain?

It is a sin to take God's name in vain; ordinarily, it is a venial sin.

232. What is cursing?

Cursing is the calling down of some evil on a person, place, or thing.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (Romans 12:14)

233. What is blasphemy?

Blasphemy is insulting language which expresses contempt for God, either directly or through His saints and holy things.

Amen I say to you, that all sins shall be forgiven to the sons of men, and the blasphemies wherewith they may blaspheme; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Ghost never has forgiveness, but will be guilty of an everlasting sin. (Mark 3:28-30)

234. What is the third commandment of God?

The third commandment of God is: Remember thou keep holy the Lord's day.

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. (Genesis 2:2)

235. Why does the Church command us to keep Sunday as the Lord's day?

The Church commands us to keep Sunday as the Lord's day, because on Sunday Christ rose from the dead, and on Sunday the Holy Ghost descended upon the apostles.

236. What are we commanded by the third commandment?

By the third commandment we are commanded to worship God in a special manner on Sunday, the Lord's day.

Keep you my sabbath; for it is holy unto you. (Exodus 31:14)

237. How does the Church command us to worship God on Sunday?

The Church commands us to worship God on Sunday by assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

238. What is forbidden by the third commandment of God?

By the third commandment of God all unnecessary servile work on Sunday is forbidden.

Six days shall you do work; in the seventh day is the sabbath, the rest holy to the Lord. (Exodus 31:15)

239. What is servile work?

Servile work is that which requires labor of body rather than of mind.

240. When is servile work allowed on Sunday?

Servile work is allowed on Sunday when the honor of God, our own need, or that of our neighbor requires it.

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