Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Call on His Name

She claims to be a Christian. She testifies to all the spiritual things that she has done. She is super nice to everyone (and avoids those who are “nasty” and are what she calls negative thinkers). She says she reads her Bible and is certain that she is pleasing God. However, I’ve never heard her say, or even seen her write, the name of Jesus.

This person and others use euphemisms for God. He is “the man upstairs” or “the big guy” or even “lord” but without regard to the meaning of that title. Why can’t they call Him by name?

Yet, even those who are genuine Christians sometimes struggle to use His name. It is relatively easy to talk about God and refer to Him as Creator, Maker, and even Father, but saying the name Jesus Christ is difficult. Calling Him Lord and meaning it is also difficult.
 

Jesus comes from the Hebrew name Joshua, or Jehoshua. It means “Jehovah will save” and that meaning is what bears the offense. The name of Jesus directly implies that people need saving. It is a name that addresses sin, and I’ve noticed that no one wants to talk about sin either, particularly their own sin.

I remember a man that said to me, “Everyone believes that Jesus died for the sins of the world. What is so difficult about believing that?”

I replied, “But what about your sins?”

He paused for several moments, then said, “Oh. I see what you mean.”

The rub is personal sin. I find it easy to talk about the sins of others (doesn’t that make me look better than they are?) and I am not the only one who pulls back when it comes to confessing personal sin. However, the Bible is clear about this: unless a sinner is willing to admit their sin and confess it to God, there is no forgiveness or salvation from sin. Furthermore,  

There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
Salvation is not in the confessing of sin; salvation is in the name of Jesus. He is the One who paid the price for sin. He is the One who secured forgiveness and eternal life for us sinful mortals. Not only that, we can do nothing about it (except confess and repent). He does the saving, and only He can save us.

The name of Jesus ought not be a name hard to say. It is the most precious name, a name above all names. When Joseph discovered that Mary was with child and he was not the father, he thought about all he had heard. At that point, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream again, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”  (Matthew 1:20-21)

Mary and Joseph did as they were told. They named the child Jesus. A couple of thousand years later, His Spirit and His Word convicted me of sin and my need for saving. I struggled, yet by grace was able to name my sins. He came into my life and I knew that this was the One who was God in human flesh, the only One who could save me from the wrath of God that I deserved.

So many say His name in blasphemy or meaningless cursing, or they refuse to say it at all. Instead, the Name should be said softly, with entreaty and expectation, with faith and hope, with joy and gratitude. He is able to save sinners, and there is no other who can do that.

2 comments:

Karin said...

Take the Name of Jesus with you,
Child of sorrow and of woe,
It will joy and comfort give you;
Take it then, where’er you go.

Refrain

Precious Name, O how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of Heav’n.
Precious Name, O how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of Heav’n.

LC said...

You have put a good song in my heart today. Thank you!!