What’s In A Name?

Blog #55 April 17, 2023

Proverbs 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold. 

At first glance, it seems as if God has missed the boat on the nature of a name. In this world, very few have had a chance to choose the name they were born into. It is a handle given to us by our parents. Some names help us. Some are an unfair challenge. Names are supposed to signify our individuality. Good luck with that if you are named James, Mary, Juan, Sofia, or even Mohamed. Names are also supposed to tell everyone we meet something about us. Even I question my own creditability when the name Fred is compared to Freddy the Freeloader, Fred Flintstone, or my favorite Drop Dead Fred. Heaven help you if your name is Adolph, Saddam, or Jezebel. You soon come to question the viability and value of your name as a tool to gain the Kingdom. 

Even in scripture, we find that names were beyond the choice of those who wore them. When Babylon enslaved Judah, the culture of Babylon demanded new names for their new slaves. A slave name was effective in reminding both the slave and the general populace of their life in bondage. Though effective in its purpose, it was not the slave’s choice. 

Daniel 1:7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names; for he gave unto 
Daniel the name of Betheshazzar; 
and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; 
and to Mishael, of Meshach; 
and to Azariah, of Abed-nego.

History chose to identify three of these four by slave names. Even today, believers use the slave names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to teach a great story of faith. God too, was in the business of choosing names. Abram became Abraham. Jacob became Israel. These two names were changed because of their decision to covenant with the Lord. Perhaps God too, sought to use their names to separate them from their life before.

As with Abram:
Genesis 17:8-9 
17:8 But as for thee, behold, I will make my covenant with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 
17:9 And this covenant I make, that thy children may be known among all nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be called Abraham; for, a father of many nations have I made thee.

As with Jacob:
Genesis 32:27-28 (after Jacobs wrestling match with the angel)
32:27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
32:28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

Proverbs 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold. 

I was a bit shaken by the realization that I had seemingly uncovered a statement by God that was not the fullness of truth I had come to depend on. My faith was restored when God asserted Himself in my life. He led me to a scripture proving to me that we do have a name that is our choice and our choice alone. 

2 Nephi 13:16-17 
13:16 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father, that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism; yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word; behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; 
13:17 Yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.

The spiritual nature of baptism itself is significant to the need for our name to change when we enter into covenant.

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

John 3:1-3 
3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 
3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles which thou doest, except God be with him. 
3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  

Consider the overall implications of being born again. We are not the person we were before. We are cleansed of the sinful life, which defined our lonely existence. In this new life, we are offered authority and responsibility based on the decisions we have made and those we will make in fellowship with God and the children of God. We need a new name, something we can call ourselves that we might recognize the change we seek. We need a new name that will help us to accept with joy the new path before us. In humility to God and His Kingdom we gather into ourselves the same name given to all those which accept God as their Father, Christ as their savior, and the Holy Spirit as our spiritual liaison, guide, and teacher. In service to God and His purpose, we become one in name with all those who have chosen likewise. We take on the name of Jesus the Christ. 

Genesis 7:23 And the Lord called his people, Zion, because they were of one heart and of one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there were no poor among them.

In the name Jesus Christ, we begin to recognize need for and the ability to grow in oneness, service to others, and all the attitudes and behaviors that denoted the ministry of Christ in the world of man. In the name Jesus Christ, we recognize that we have become a part of a classless society where all are equal in status, and all recognize God in His various aspects as their Father, their Teacher, their judge, and their Sovereign Lord. In our labor to grow in the ways of the Kingdom, we begin to recognize the truest attribute of the name we have chosen. Jesus Christ is a name the represents potential. We have within our gasps the ability to become a people, who are one in thought, one in action, and live a life rich in purpose, full of the loving favor of God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

DC 36: 2h And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness;

We must also realize that the name we have been given signifies a challenge. If the testimony we offer is to be as true as the God we serve, we now have to live-up to the name we wear, and we have to do it as a people. God has given us many righteous men; He seeks a righteous people. In the name of Jesus Christ, we have promised the Father we will labor to give Him that, and with the help of God in the name of Jesus Christ, together as one we will succeed.   

Genesis 6:53  And he also said unto him, If thou wilt, turn unto me and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask it shall be given you.

Proverbs 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold. 

Before we finish with this verse from Proverbs, let us must ponder the value of loving favor. In the world, the approval of others is needed to attain all positions of authority or prosperity. We need the favor of our superiors to teach and mentor us. We need the favor of our subordinates if we are to lead effectively. In business, we need the favor of our customers to prosper. In the world, the approval of others is sometimes given, but in most cases, we are required to buy it or earn it. 

Proverbs 19:6 Many will entreat the favor of the prince; and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.

In the world of man there are many ways to gain approval that do not reflect the Kingdom of God. Many bosses lead by intimidation. They gain begrudging approval by constantly reminding their employee that they are expendable. Fear is a great motivator. In business, favor can be curried with gifts, promises, and at times even blackmail. These are a forced approval that even in their dark nature are accepted and taught by the world. Lobbyists in Washington DC gain the favor of powerful political constituents and affect many political decisions. The media has become famous for its ability to stretch the truth and make questionable claims about a product in an effort to coherence us to buy it. Politics does the same thing except their product is people. Both seek our approval and play to our ignorance and our unwillingness to question their claims. 

Ephesian 2:8-9 
2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; but it is the gift of God;  
2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.  

In God and through God, true loving favor has another name. It is called grace. It comes not because of anything we did to earn it. It is there because of another’s love for us. If we can use language to define the true worth of grace, tell me how much you would pay for the love of your child. Now tell me how much it cost your child for you to love them, and I will tell you that neither can be bought, curried, or earned. They are priceless. In fact, if we try to purchase them, they become worthless. Loving favor is the purest gift we can give, and the truest form of adoration we can receive. It cannot be earned, but it does need to be maintained. The grace of God is nourished by our willingness to offer the same to another. It is sustained by our zeal to allow part of the giver to become part of us. It is made eternal by our trust in the grace of God and allowing it to cause growth and change. Our trust in God creates a testimony that God's grace is real and pure. Further, when we choose to nourish it, it is ours forever. 

1 John 4:16-17 
4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. We are one
4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; It is ours for eternity because as he is, so are we in this world. Again we are one

Understand lastly that when we choose the name of Jesus Christ as our own, we are recognizing our need for Christ's sacrifice that we might be cleansed of our sins. This is a just and fair judgment that adheres to God's design for His perfect righteous creation. By choosing to covenant with God we chose to accept God's justice. By choosing to honor God's justice we become worthy to receive His mercy. Understand the importance of this choice and our God given ability to make that choice. If there were no justice, God would not be God, but if there were no mercy then the Gospel of the Kingdom would be a useless lie. If we had no choice or we refuse to make that decision, we are lost. 

Alma 16:215-217
16:215 And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law; every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God; yea, infinite and eternal; and thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name;
16:216 This being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
16:217 And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance, is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore, only unto him that has faith unto repentance, is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.
For some the relationship between justice and mercy is a difficult concept, but it is very important that we grasp the fullness of all that is offered. When we choose to allow God's justice to guide our life, we receive the strength of understanding, which is the mind of God within our heart, the Holy Spirit. His grace is the means by which we grow. His loving favor allows us growth we can't achieve without His Spirit in our lives. It is a gift of love from the Father. It can't be purchased neither will it stolen or be taken away. Only our choice can cause God's loving favor to turn away from our life. 

Romans 8:38-39 
8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When we choose to take on the name of Christ we open our lives to a labor that can and will direct our lives for eternity. In His loving favor, that which we have been given becomes that which we are urged to share with a world in need of all we can give it. The name of Christ is one that neither denotes honor nor labels us a slave. The name of Christ testifies of the unity of oneness. We are one with Christ in the way we honor the Father. We are one with Christ in our diligence to sharing all that God gives us with all those who seek to join us in the labor. The name of Christ is not a burden on our backs. His name puts wings upon our heart.

Let God's grace fill you to overflowing that all the world might share in your joy.
Receive then share.
That is God's way.


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