By Elder Enoch Ofori Jnr.
"I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for MINE OWN SAKE, and will not remember thy sins" (Isa 43:25).
“I write unto you, little children, because your sins arc forgiven you for HIS NAME'S SAKE" (1 John 2:12 Emphasis mine)
God's Name plays a key role in our salvation and in our relationship of faith with Him. His Holy Name, in and of itself, brings succor and hope to His people.
That is why the gospel is a pure love story. God has intervened in our lives for His own sake not because of any inherent merit we possess. He loves us because He has no other option but to love us!
When man fell from the grace of God through sin, our first parents Adam and Eve did not have the presence of mind to apologize to God and ask for His forgiveness (see Job 31:33).
Adam rather blamed God for his predicament, mentioning the woman God gave him as the cause of his fall (Gen. 3:11-12). If God were to go by the strict dictates of His law, which imposes the death penalty for sin (Rom. 6:23), man would have been lost forever. But there and then, something superior to law prevailed. It was love!
And so we read:
"God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8 NIV).
Our redemption is God’s own initiative for His own sake! God could not bear to see man, His special creation, lost and destroyed forever – eternally separated from Him. He created us for His own glory, for we bear His Name:
"Even every one that is called by My name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him" (Isa 43:7).
He tells us in 2 Chron 7:14:
"If my people, which are called by MY NAME, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (capitals mine).
God's Name is a constant of power and leverage with Him; He is involved with us to defend the honour of His Name — the name we bear as His children and followers.
And He has assured us that none of us who bear His name shall come to shame; this is because that will reflect badly on His Name (Rom. 9:33; see Jer. 14:21). In whatever situation we find ourselves — in the water or fire — God will defend the honour of His Name which we bear (Isa. 43: 1-2).
He asks in Isa. 50:10:
"Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the Name of the LORD [he bears], and stay upon his God."
Because we know and bear His Name, He will deliver us in time of trouble to preserve the honour of His Holy Name (Ps 91:14; 79:9).
But we must be careful how we bear His Name. We must not bear His Name in dishonor through disobedience to His Word.
He complains in Rom. 2:24 rebuking the disobedient Jews: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you" (NIV).
And He recommends in 2 Tim 2:19: "Everyone who confesses [or bears] the Name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness [lawlessness]”.
That's exactly why for His Name's sake He leads us in the paths of righteousness (Ps. 23:3). Anyone who bears His Name unworthily due to sin and unrighteousness ultimately brings dishonor to Him.
1 Peter 4:14-16 addresses this concern:
"If you are insulted because of the Name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
"If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind or criminal or even as a meddler.
"However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name" (NIV).
For His great Name's sake, He will not forsake us (1 Sam 12:22). In His Mercy He will keep us from falling through godly discipline and the power of His Spirit (Jude 1:24; Heb. 12:6-10; Rom 8:1-2). Yes, for His Name's sake He will save us from His wrath (Isa 48:9-11), i.e. defer it awaiting repentance, not indefinitely (Rev. 2:21).
Beyond our righteousness, faith, prayer, etc – all very important to Him – God's Name remains most precious to Him. If the worst comes to the worst, God will defend the honour of His Holy Name. It's a responsibility He will never abdicate! (see Ezekiel 36:20-23).
He declares in Isa. 42:8:
"I am the LORD: that is MY NAME: and My Glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images."
The NAME OF THE LORD (YAHWEH) is our strong tower (Prov. 18:10). When all hope is lost and there is no help in sight from anywhere, let's not forget that we have one enduring anchor of hope: "Our help is in the Name of the LORD" (Ps. 124:8).
In Israel's prophesied war with Gog, one of the desired results will be the exaltation of the honour of God's Name among the nations (Ezekiel 39:25-27).
May the Lord, in seeking to bring everlasting honour to His Holy Name, make us objects of His honour, for we bear His Name and are created for His glory.