The New Name

"Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, 'You are Simon, the son of John - but you will be called Cephas,' (which means Peter, the rock)" John 1:42...."God writes the new name only on those places in our lives where He has erased the pride of self-sufficiency and self-interest. Some of us have the new name in spots only, like measles. In sections we look all right.....The disciple is one who has the new name written all over him." Oswald Chambers..."I've a new name written down in glory, and it's mine, oh yes it's mine."

 

In response to what Chambers said, I wrote on the page of his great devotional, "Where has He written my new name, and where am I still going by my old one?" It's a question to be considered by all of us. For those who truly come to Christ in saving faith, all things become new, but sadly, we oftentimes do not live as though they are.

 

Simon was given the name, Cephas, Peter, the rock. Yet his new name did not reach into every area of his life. He was anything but a "rock" after Christ's arrest and crucifixion. An incredible transformation took place after Pentecost to be sure, but even then, there were areas of his life not yet affected. His fear of what other Jewish believers might think were he to eat with non-Jewish Christians is but one proof of that. When Christ gives us His new name, it is His intent, indeed, command, that this new name mark every aspect of our lives and character. Has it done so in you and me? Chambers says His new name must be written all over us. Is it so with us? If not, where has it yet to reach?

 

Chambers points to pride, self-sufficiency, and self-interest as being the main blockages to living in the fullness of our new names, and certainly, they play a powerful role. But I think there are others as well, more subtle, but exerting great power and influence, blocking the freedom and transformation found in Christ. Perhaps foremost among them would be the enemies lie that we will never escape the tyranny of our old name. The leopard can't change his spots says the world and the devil. He can't, but Christ can...and He does. 

 

I believe in a Gospel that has the power to save to the uttermost, to reach and saturate every area of life. No matter what cesspool our lives have been immersed in, He can bring us out of it....and remove all the stench of that cesspool from us. Whatever we have been, whatever we have done, whatever we are doing, and whatever label the world, the enemy, and even the church has put on us, He can free us. He does set us free. Whatever the world has called us, no matter who has named us, it is His new name that marks us. And that new name is one He gives us according to who it is He has made us to be, and says we are. Jesus saw Simon as the rock upon which He would build His Church long before Simon or anyone else did. Peter's past sins and failures, even his complete denial of Christ, could not stop that. Simon who betrayed Him became Peter who would die for Him. Simon who was not, became Peter who was. Simon, who seemingly could do nothing for Him, found that He could now do all things in Him. Simon, whose life was shifting sand, was now Peter the immovable rock. Once my name would have been "Cheat....Liar...User...Manipulator," and many more. By His grace and power, they are no more. I've a new name "written down in glory." If you are truly His, so do you. Are you living in it right now? 

 

In what way has the enemy convinced you that you have no place at the Father's Table? In what ways has he convinced you that the Father cringes at the sight of you, rather than opening His arms to you? Where have you accepted a life of defeat and perpetual sin, when He has invited you into a life of victory and freedom? Someone has said that Christ enters into the center of our being, our hearts, and then works His way into the most outer circumference of our lives with His saving Life. They called it the "conversion process." I think this is simply the working out of our new name into every part of our being. Under whose name, and what name do we live today? Do we live under the tyranny of the old name, or as sons and daughters of the inheritance? He has given us a new name in order that we might proclaim His name. As His. We are not who the enemy says we are. We are who He says we are. What say you?

Blessings, 
Pastor O

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