I’m a proud grand-papa of eleven precious grandchildren! The oldest is ten. The youngest is four. Included in the eleven are three sets of twins which means that I have more twins than singles! And I have the trifecta: twin girls, twin boys, and a twin boy and girl.
Also included in my gaggle of grands are two adopted kids, both six, and both bright and beautiful. (They’re only three months apart in age, so they might as well be twins.) They are mine because my daughter and her husband adopted them. I was there the day the judge dropped his gavel and announced with finality, “case closed!” The adoption was final. My grands received a new name, and new birth certificates listing my kids as their new daddy and momma.
The Bible says that as believers, we have been adopted into God’s family. We “did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, (we) received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ”(Romans 8:15–17). The day of our adoption, the Eternal Judge dropped His gavel and announced, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
When we’re saved, everything is made new. We’re even promised a new name. Jesus wrote to the church at Pergamum saying, “To the one who conquers, I will give ... him a white stone, and on the stone a new name is inscribed” (Revelation 2:17). In first-century Rome, a white stone was given to the victorious gladiator, to the one acquitted at trial, or to guests invited to a banquet. The follower of Christ is, by God’s grace, victorious, justified, and invited to the glorious banquet in heaven. On my white stone will be inscribed my new name; not the name given to me by my earthy father, but the name granted me by my Heavenly Father.
Names are important to God.
The angel announced to young Mary, “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will have no end” (Luke 1:31–33). Jesus, a Greek name, is equivalent to the Hebrew name Joshua. Both names mean, Jehovah Saves! “God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9–11).
God gave Abram and Sarai new names. He also gave Jacob a new name. Pharoah gave Joseph a new name. In Babylon, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were given new names and later, in Persia, Hadassah was given the name Esther. Jesus called Simon by the name Peter. On his first missionary journey, Saul’s name was changed to Paul. This week let’s look at some of these Biblical accounts.
Humm? A white stone! A new name! Ponder that!
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.