We’ve all repeated the model of prayer that Jesus taught His disciples, “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name’ (Matt 6:9). Hallowed in the original Greek is hagiazo, which means “to make, render, or declare as sacred or holy, or to mentally venerate or revere”. So as we say to the world that we are God’s children and yet do not revere Him, we are defaming His name instead of hallowing it.
In a Bible study a couple of months ago we studied Psalm 15, which begins with a question from David asking who may be in God’s presence: “Lord, who may reside in Your tent? Who may settle on Your holy hill?” (v1). The majority of the answer lies in the next few verses: “One who walks with integrity, practices righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, Nor do evil to his neighbor, Nor bring shame on his friend; A despicable person is despised in his eyes, But he honors those who fear the Lord; He takes an oath to his own detriment, and does not change” (Ps 15:2-4).
Those who can come into God’s presence are those who fear (revere) Him, and seek to do His revealed will. This reminds me of the first psalm: “Blessed is the person who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, And on His Law he meditates day and night.” (Ps 1:1-2) Not only can we come boldly to His throne, but He promises that if we delight in Him and revere His name, which is His character, then we “will be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Ps 1:3)
Alternatively, if we live so that we defame His name, we will be judged. Consider the judgment on Israel: “Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, when the house of Israel was living on their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds; their way before Me was like the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity. Therefore I poured out My wrath on them for the blood which they had shed on the land, because they had defiled it with their idols. I also scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the lands. According to their ways and their deeds I judged them. When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, yet they have left His land.’ But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went.'” (Ez 36:16-21)
The Lord is righteous and just. He detests sin and judges it in the hearts of those who don’t repent, and He does it for His glory. “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Lord God says: ‘It is not for your sake, house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,’ declares the Lord God, ‘when I show Myself holy among you in their sight.'” (Ez 36:22-23)
It is only the Lord that can do the work within us to make our character which was marred by sin into Christ-likeness if we humbly submit to His work. We “are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 2:5).
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God on the day of visitation.” (1 Pet 2:9-12)
When we submit to His work within us, He promises, “For I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the lands; and I will bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and bring it about that you walk in My statutes, and are careful and follow My ordinances. And you will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.” (Ez 36:24-28) To be His people, we must humble ourselves before Him and Hallow His Name as Holy, otherwise we profane His name.