Names can be fascinating, and, when we name a child, we go through a great deal of preparation and research in the process. We make associations with names, and they mean something to us. What does our name of Christian mean to us? The name literally means that which belongs to or pertains to Christ. In Ephesians 1:22-23 and Romans 6:3 we are described as being in Christ’s body and His death, and Galatians 3:27 we are said to have put on Christ.
Qualities of the Name
This name brings a new life. In II Corinthians 5:17, Paul states that any man who is in Christ is a new creature – a whole new being. It brings a new life including a fresh start, freedom from guilt, erasure of our past sins. We begin new, and those selfish choices that have kept us separated from God are no longer present. In this, we should now be avoiding those old sins. Hebrews 10:28 warns us to be aware of our respect for the blood that saved us, and that respect affects our behaviors. Colossians 3:5 instructs us to put that old identity to death after we take on the new (verses 12-15).
This name indicates a change in character. This ties closely to our new life. In I Peter 2:21, Paul informs us that our example can be found in Christ. We are to walk in His steps. Christ lived a life focused on others rather than Himself, and our new character should reflect a similar attitude. Kindness, forgiveness, caring, and patience a characterized in Him and should also be in us. How often do our actions reflect an image in contradiction with the name we wear? We wear a new name, and our character should be reflecting that name.
This name brings new relationships. Before becoming a Christian, our relationships may have centered around ourselves. “I come first.” In Galatians 2:20, Paul speaks of severing his relationship with self, and his new life is centered around Christ instead. How many times do the New Testament authors remind us that we were “bought with a price,” and we are no longer our own? In Matthew 6:33, Jesus reminds us to put God first. Furthermore, this new name gives us a relationship with other Christians. We become brothers and sisters in Christ, and we have responsibilities and obligations toward one another. I cannot have a relationship with Christ if I do not have a relationship with those that are His.
We take a certain amount of pride in our family names. We give special consideration to those who share our family name. Likewise, wearing Christ’s name means something to Him, and it really should mean something to us. To wear His name without His character demonstrates disloyalty, and to view the name as secondary to our identity shows divided loyalty. We are to be Christ’s, wholly and completely. I Peter 4:16 reminds us to not be ashamed of the name of Christian but to rather glorify God while we wear that name.
lesson by Tim Smelser