Names for the Nameless
MAY 30, 2016
In the Bible, names aren’t just names. The name reveals the essence of the person.
Let’s start with a statement made by the apostle Paul in Galatians 2:19–20: “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
According to Paul, the good news is that you’re already dead. Paul isn’t giving us a command. He’s giving us a fact.
When you die, you not only experience resurrection, you get a new name. That changes everything about our hidden agendas and our masks. When you’re crucified with Christ…
Your Name Is Forgiven
There isn’t a kicker. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, who you’re sleeping with, what you’re drinking or smoking, what you think, who you’ve hurt, the games you’re playing, the masks you’re wearing, the agendas you’re hiding, or whether or not you get better. When you bring it all to Jesus, you’re forgiven.
Without forgiveness at the heart of our relationships, we would continue to play at religion, and never love or be loved.
You can’t forgive until you have been unconditionally forgiven (no kicker) and then you can only love to the degree to which you have been unconditionally forgiven. I will never remove my mask and set aside my agendas as long as I think Christianity is about fixing me and others, building empires, changing the world, making my life count, correcting doctrinal truth, promoting programs, raising money, and being nice. It’s not. It’s about the forgiveness of sins. Paul wrote, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15).
Your Name Is Redeemed
The word “redeemed” is a very strong word. It means to gain or regain something at a price. The Scripture says that in Christ we have been redeemed “through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us” (Ephesians 1:7–8).
We have been adopted by a father who is rich, generous, and kind. The Scripture says that God has sent the Spirit of Jesus into our hearts, causing us to cry out, “Abba Father.” “So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:6–7).
Your Name Is Acceptable
What if I told you that God was already pleased, that he already thinks of you as faithful, and in his eyes you are already obedient? It’s true. The theological word is “imputation.”
The Bible says, “. . . and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ . . . ” (Philippians 3:9). “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Romans 4:5). “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness . . .” (Isaiah 61:10).
When Christ died on the cross, there was a trade. God traded my sin for Christ’s righteousness.
Your Name Is Loved
The principle is this: you can’t experience love until it’s given when you don’t deserve it. Everything else is reward.
That’s what God has done. Listen to what Paul writes: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39). I would suggest that those words pretty much cover it. They cover all of our masks and all of our hidden agendas.
So laugh, sing and dance.
Adapted from Steve’s book, Hidden Agendas: Dropping the Masks that Keep Us Apart.