Steven Shek—Edinburgh, UK
The Lord’s Prayer is a
passage many Christians know by heart. Perhaps we recite it daily, and teach
our children and newly baptized members to do the same. We study it as the
model prayer, and often share its teachings in sermons and seminars. Certainly,
each line of the Lord’s Prayer is noteworthy for our learning and reflection.
However, the second line, “Hallowed be Your name,” is
often rushed over and overlooked in our sharings. Yet,
to hallow God’s name is one of the first things we must do as God’s people.
Hallowing God’s name is not
only something each of us should personally practice, but also something we
should encourage our fellow brothers and sisters to uphold. When we see someone
failing to hallow God’s name, do we exhort him to return to God? Reflecting on
how to truly hallow God’s name in our lives not only helps us to improve our
personal relationship with God, but also allows us to take better care of His
sheep and keep them within the fold.
How can we ensure we are
hallowing the name of God?
HALLOW GOD IN OUR HEARTS
The definition of “hallow”
is to “honor as holy.” Peter, in his
letters, encouraged the believers to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” (1
Pet 3:15). The phrase “in your hearts” means that when we hallow God, something
should happen within us. In order to hallow God, we must first let Him be our
fear and our dread (Isa 8:13).
Naturally, what happens
within our hearts has an outward effect. The most obvious expression of this
inner fear is through our praise and worship. However, it is not enough to keep
singing a hymn such as How Great Thou Art to laud God’s name ever-harmoniously,
then to disregard Him the minute we leave church. This kind of singing would
just be flattery (Ps 78:36). God does not need our admiration; but the very
fact of His nature demands that we honor and fear Him in how we act.
Before Moses began his life
of servitude, God told him to take off his sandals because the ground on which
he was standing was holy. From this instruction, Moses was moved from within to
follow what was revealed to him by God. In true belief and full awareness,
Moses further responded by hiding his face because he was afraid to look upon
God (Ex 3:5–6). If we truly hallow God in our hearts, we would hallow Him in our actions.
Someone with a strong and
genuine faith will fear God in his heart and life, not just in his worship. To
hallow God is not just to respect Him or be amazed at His creation and salvation.
It requires a deeper understanding of God’s goodness and, equally, His severity
HALLOW GOD ON A DEEPER LEVEL
Within broader Christianity,
Christ is generally portrayed as the Lamb of God, the Good Shepherd and a
loving Father (Jn 1:29, 36; 10:7, 11, 14; Jer 31:3; Rom 8:39). However, let us consider honoring God
on a deeper level. In Revelation, it describes how the Lamb is “slain” (Rev
5:6, 12) and records “the marriage of the Lamb” (Rev 19:7). If we study the
Book of Revelation, we will realize that it describes a day when the wrath of
the Lamb will be poured out (Rev 6:16; 14:10). We must absolutely keep this
truth about Christ and His judgment at the forefront of our minds. This will
naturally direct us to treat Him correctly, with fear and respect, in each step
of our life and in whatever we do (Prov 3.5–6). So
rather than just focusing on the comforting goodness of God, we should also
consider His severity (Rom 11:22).
We believe that Christ is
the Holy One of Israel (Lk 1:35; Acts 2:27; 13:35).
If we worship God in spirit and truth (Jn 4:23–24),
we need to take heed of how the Holy One dealt with those who tested and
tempted Him time and again (Deut 33:8; Ps 78:41; 1 Cor
10:1–11). Our God is not a pushover; people who hold an incomplete view of God
may think and do whatever they like in private, believing that they are safely
hidden. But this is self-deception.
Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the LORD,
And their works are in the dark;
They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?” (Isa 29:15)
God sees and knows all
things. Hence, we should continually reflect on our relationship with
Him—whether we honor and fear Him on a deeper level of understanding, and with
our whole being.
HALLOW GOD IN RIGHTEOUSNESS
Trained in Righteousness
escape God’s wrath, we need to accept correction based on God’s righteousness.
To expose self-deception in ourselves, we need to be honest and allow the Holy
Spirit to pinpoint areas where we are not aligned with God’s righteousness. This
process will bring about a fulfillment of the prophecy for the descendants of
Abraham: when God’s people hallow His name, those “who erred in spirit will
come to understanding, and those who complained will learn doctrine” (Isa
those who have been trained in God’s righteousness will progress towards
pursuing His righteousness, as Paul did. Rather than asking themselves, “Am I
doing anything wrong against God?” they will ask, “What else must I do to
become more righteous in God’s eyes?” (Phil 3:9–14).
Ready to Embrace Righteousness
we are actively pursuing God’s righteousness, we need to embrace and accept the
righteous judgment of God, who is holy.
“But the LORD
of hosts shall be exalted in judgment,
And God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.” (Isa 5:16)
Bible describes two ways in which God will be “hallowed in righteousness”—both
of which relate to His judgment.
it records how on the day of
judgment, those who are condemned will agree with God’s judgment and
hallow Him. Everyone, even unbelievers and disobedient Christians, will fear
God, the all-consuming fire (Heb 12:28–29; Rev 6:16–17; 2 Thess
1:7–9; Rom 3:4, 19).
God will use His word to judge those in His church, who will turn from
unrighteousness to righteousness to show they truly hallow God. How shall this
come to pass? Let us refer to the words of the prophet Isaiah:
Now it shall come to pass
in the latter days
That the mountain of the
Shall be established on
the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above
And all nations shall flow
Many people shall come and
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His
For out of Zion shall go
forth the law,
word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their
swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up
sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn
war anymore. (Isa 2:2–4)
If we truly hallow God, we
will learn to love His judgment, because it teaches us to turn to righteousness.
In this way, through love and fear of Him, we will be refined and ready to meet
Him on the day of judgment:
Let us be glad and rejoice
and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has
made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen,
clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous
acts of the saints. (Rev 19:7–8)
GOD BY SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE
As we can see, our
perfection in righteousness occurs not just on an individual level, but through
the church as a whole. The whole church must come to hallow God’s name, through
So, as watchmen, we need to
call our brethren to repentance when they are heading the wrong way. We cannot
let God down by being too gentle with their feelings that we neglect to remind
each other of our duty as faithful servants of God. When we see
unrighteousness, are we willing to speak the truth in love, however harsh it
may seem (Eph 4:15)? It is important we do so; if we do not, we are letting our
brethren fall into a false sense of salvation (Jer
6:14; Ezek 13:10). And if we allow them to backslide past the point of no
return and insult the Spirit of grace, how can we, ourselves, escape (Heb
10:29)? We need to exhort everyone to honor the name of the Lord Jesus. It is
by His holy name that we have all been saved (Acts 4:10, 12). Since we are
indeed the true church in the end time, let us move courageously towards the
likeness of the restored apostolic church:
I will restore your judges as at the first,
And your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the
faithful city. (Isa 1:26)