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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A New Name

I had originally planned a different post, but circumstances have postponed its completion.  In the meantime, I thought I'd share an interesting thought, not trying to flesh it out in a long article.

A little while ago, I read Isaiah 65: 15, which says (to the wicked),
"You will leave your name for my chosen ones to use in their curses; the Sovereign Lord will put you to death, but to his servants he will give another name." (NIV 2010).   
This passage made me recall another passage in Revelation about naming.  Remember it?
"Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it," (Revelation 2: 17 NIV 2010).

Now, God renamed Abram, Abraham, and He called Jacob, Israel.  There aren't very many other examples of people being renamed as they entered a new, more spiritual phase in their lives.  In fact, I can think of only one at this moment: Joshua (see Numbers 13: 16).

Add these passages from Isaiah and Revelation to this discussion, and you get a whole new layer of meaningfulness.   These new names the patriarchs received were like total life makeovers.  They had not only new names, but also new identities, life goals, and spiritual promises to live for.

In heaven, Christians are promised this same makeover.  No longer will we be remembered as that imperfect person we once were--the one who tried to live right and who sincerely loved the Lord, but was always falling short of total holiness.  We won't even have to remember our past failures when we are speaking with the Lord, because He won't remind us of who we were--not even our old names.  This is true intimacy with the Lord!

There's one other immediate benefit of a new name: We will no longer be an object of cursing.  Even our name will be hidden away in Christ from wicked ones who once scorned us, so they can no longer touch us with their words.   Meanwhile, those who have always been wicked will be revealed as such, so that their name is no longer given honor, but rather, is used as a synonym of shame and distastefulness.  May none of us ever find ourselves counted among the wicked!  Guard your hearts and your lives from sin.

I'm leaving this post pretty open-ended, with a question.  Can you think of any more benefits of having a new name, given to us by God?


Shannon said...

Beautiful thoughts! I had noticed this myself, but I never hear it preached about. Another benefit I suppose is that with this new name no one but God can tell you who you are. In this life, even those with good intentions may expect things from us that aren't what we were made for--but God knows the role He created each individual to fulfill.