I wonder if anyone really thought about what they were doing when they named the hurricane that affected the entire Eastern shore of the United States, “Irene.” The etymology of the name is the Greek word for “peace”: eirene. Peace! Seriously? Not quite…

I laughed to myself when I thought about it. But seriously, names are important. I’m sure you know someone who is named after a grandfather or grandmother. Or perhaps, you have named your child after someone significant. Or maybe you chose a name for a child because it has a certain meaning. I myself, was named in order to have my father’s initials. This may be a girl-thing but, I have already chosen a name for my son (pending an agreement from the unknown husband-to-be): Caiden, named for my two favorite theologians: C.S. Lewis and Aiden W. Tozer. Names are important.

We know from Scripture that God would change people’s names to confirm His work in their lives: Jacob became Israel; Abram became Abraham; Saul became Paul; Cephas became Peter; the unnamed woman with the issue of blood became “Daughter.”

The whole discussion on names brings me to one verse in Acts 4.

12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

This is Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking to Jewish rulers and leaders, after he and John were arrested for proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Names are important. One name in particular is of the highest importance: Jesus Christ, Lord of heaven and earth. It is by this name, and this name alone that we, sinners, condemned, unclean, become the righteousness of God.

What other name are you trusting in for “salvation”?

  1. Your own name. Are you self-righteous–working your way into good graces with the Lord? Are you dependent on what you do or don’t do to save you? Do you get your value from what people think of you? Are you trying to earn your righteousness?
  2. Barack Obama or any other president in 2012. Do you have an unbiblical preoccupation with what our government is doing? Do you think salvation or destruction comes with a certain name winning an election? Do you trust the “right” decisions of government instead of trusting the sovereignty of God?
  3. Your School’s name. Do you trust your education to get you the job you need instead of the Lord? Do you think you are better or more worthy of “good” things because of your intellect?
  4. Your occupational title. Is your job your salvation? Do you trust the money and provision you receive from it more than the God who provides the job and the ability to work at all?
  5. Your Doctor’s name. Do you rely more on the doctor’s treatment and advice over trusting the Great Physician? Have you sought the Lord in prayer as much as you have sought the best doctors?
  6. Your spouse’s name. Do you think that life will be perfect when/if you get married? Are you trusting in a spouse for fulfillment instead of the all-satisfying God of Glory?
  7. Your last name. Do you think that because you have a grandmother, or a father, or a child, or a sister who is a believer, that God will give you a pass, while you have not sought the Name Above All Names for yourself? God doesn’t have grandchildren–He has first generation children. Praise Him.

Call upon the name of the Lord, and be saved (Joel 2:32). Names are important.