How Names Are Used.

My pastor was discussing my beliefs on the trinity when he asked me this question, why would Jesus command that disciples be baptized (referring to Matthew 28:19) in a specific manner if there wasnít a person for each name? In hindsight, I suppose that you could rephrase the question to why would the disciples obviously ignored his command if Jesus had given it. These questions demonstrates is that there are two sides to every story.

My pastor brought out a specific point regarding his beliefs of the trinity doctrine. He like many others believed that there is a separate person for each name in the phrase, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19. His reasoning had merit worth investigating because God is known by these names.  On the other hand God is known by more than a hundred names and I am sure that there is not a person for each of those names. Even then, most of the names God is known by reflect a characteristic or attribute that God is known for.

Names are important because "names" are given to persons, places and things. They are used to distinguish a particular person place or thing from another. For example, Michelle Obama lives with her husband at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington D.C. With this information you can find the Whitehouse where the President of the United States resides.

Names are important in a physical world because number ofthings names identify. Names are related to faces of people, places are associated with landmarks and things are connected with their shape and use. In other words, names do not represent people, places or things because of the way our sensory minds work. Our minds store an abundance of information through a system that identifies physical substances and connects distinct persons, places, or things with a name. Our activities use our mind to recall the stored memory of faces, landmarks, and how things are used to conduct our relations with other people. Therefore, in a sensory world based on perceiving a physical form and assigning a name to it.

Names are important in Godís kingdom because names are related to the character of persons and the authority they possess. According to Matthew 28:18, Christ came to his disciples saying that All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Paul wrote that in him (Christ Jesus) we live and move and have our being.  Consequently Christians live and exist in Christ with every committed word or deed that represents the name of Jesus. The importance of the name of Jesus to the Christian can be seen in the following examples.

Names are important in an historical sense because specific people created our history. Although many are no longer living the historical record perpetuates the memory of what people said and accomplished. In the same way the Bible preserves the historical memory of several relationships between God and man through the word and deeds of biblical characters. These historical records of words and accomplishments affected change and tell us how man advanced to the life they have today. As Christians we look to the historical record of the Bible for guidance and to find ways to develop our relationship with God.

Names are important in relationships related kinship or by blood. The family relationship was initially created by God because he made Adam and Eve from the same lump of clay. Adam recognized that Eve was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, but God said it is this reason that a man would cling to his wife and become one flesh. In other words, God designed the male and female to be a unit and commanded this unit to continue throughout the ages.

This relationship produced sons and daughters that perpetuated the family unit over time. As the family unit developed over time every person developed an immediate family and an extended family. The immediate family centered around the father who was the head of household and married to a wife. However, when their sons and daughters had children of their own they became part of the extended family. Each generation extended the family further brought demands for new names to show how each person was identified to other members of the immediate and extended family.

  The begots record the ancestry of Jesus Christ back to the name of God. Ultimately this record of ancestral fathers by each successive generation demonstrates that God is the origin of humanity and the head of a living eternal family. Spiritually,  Christian have been reconciled and adopted into a family relationship with God the Father. To become a part of Godís family you must exercise the God given right for every man to become the child of God. However, Godís family does not have an extended family, because of the way Godís family is built around a personal relationship with our Heavenly father.

  The bible records several people whose names were changed by God with a change of personality. One of the more notable name changes was for Abram who became known as Abraham, Jacob became Isreal, and Saul became Paul. Again we who were once known as sinners and have been reconciled to God are now known as Christians. One day every Christian will receive a white stone with a new name that only he knows along with the new language, a new mindset and a new personality - to will walk the streets of gold.

  Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:19-20

The way God designed man to navigate within this world allowed man to see and understand what God has made. Names have a practical use to identify and describe everything that exists in our everyday life.  More often the names chosen by man reflect the significance and character of the person place or thing being named.

Our relationship to our human father should help us to understand how the Holy Spirit fits into the family of God. The name of the father and Son are characterized by a surname commonly associated with family relationships, but the Holy Spirit is not associated with the family unit. Since the human family does not have a role name equivalent to the Holy Spirit, Itís difficult to grasp how the Holy Spiritís is oriented within Godís family unit.

The Bible records a command of Jesus Christ to go and make disciple baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. While each name describes the character of God it should not preclude that each name identifies a person. In the human existence names are given to concrete form of things that are seen with our eyes. The Bible tells us.

Every man has an embedded knowledge that God exists without ever seeing him. The bible tells us that God has made himself known to man through the work of his hands.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Palms 19:1-3

Still no one has ever seen God.

No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known. John 1:18

Jesus Said

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. John 14:9

Men know that God exists because God has made himself known, but as long as men dwell in flesh we have to rely heavily upon the methods God has enabled man to perceive him. God has given man two methods of observing his person without ever seeing his face. First God created the heavens and earth to glorify his eternal power and his divine nature. Then he created man with the ability to understand that he was created through his sensory gifts. For those who seek the creator he provided his written word describing his eternal power, and divine nature within his plan for humanity.

The Holy Spirit has never been seen with the human eye, but the knowledge of the Holy Spirit can be seen through reading Godís word. God says that he exists, therefore, we must understand the Holy Spirit by the descriptions that God used to describe the Holy Spirit.

God describes the Holy Spirit as a gift,

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

God describes the Holy Spirit as a promise,

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

Godís promise is a voluntary commitment to do or give without expecting compensation in return. The Holy Spirit is a gift ensuring of what is to come and a deposit that he will redeem you on the day of redemption. These are not qualities that describe a person, but qualities of Godís grace as he shares the goodness of his word and the powers of the coming age.

Finally, the name of Jesus is above all other names and Jesus is name of the person that God gave his authority to. When Christians pray, they complete their prayer with words in the name of Jesus. What does in the name of Jesus mean?  For some it means that you are praying in the authority of Jesusí name. At the same time Jesus came in the name of the father.

Being in Christ is having the relationship that God wants to develop with you. Marriage is a relationship devoted to serve the needs of those you love. On the day you were saved you promised to serve God the rest of your life. At the same time, Christ came to dwell in you and he is in you. He also promised,

You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:14

Jesus also said,

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28

Being in Christ means that we have to stay within the behavioral boundaries that God has established.   In our relationship with Christ we learn to rely on Christ for the things we need as Jesus relies on us to spread the gospel to the world. Your relationship with Christ is a relationship devoted to serve the needs of those you love.  God commands every Christian to love God and one another and to serve one another in love.  

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