July 21, 2016

A New Name

Isaiah 43:1-13

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

—  1 John 3:1

Many people change their names at least once during their lifetime. They may have a name change because of adoption, because they get married, because they move to a country that speaks another language, or perhaps just because they need a fresh start. Personally, I became “Jimmy” because my Hong Kong elementary school English teacher said we all needed an English name in addition to our Chinese name. While it takes time to adjust to a name change, we gradually grow used to it.

There is one name change that is not recorded on our passports, driver’s licenses, or any other identification. Yet, it is the most important name change of all. At the moment when we receive Jesus into our heart as Lord and Savior, we receive a new name: Christian—because we have become a follower of Christ. Today’s reading in Isaiah says that this change was planned a long time ago because it is God who created us, formed us, redeemed us, and has summoned us. Indeed, we were chosen by God even before we were created, to be saved through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:3-8).

This name change not only comes with protection, honor, and privileges; it also brings tremendous responsibilities. “‘You are my witnesses’, declares the Lord, ‘that I am God.’”

Heavenly Father, thank you for choosing us as your children. Help us to respond in faith so that our lives can bear witness to your great love. In Christ’s name, Amen.

About the author — Jimmy Tai-On Lin

Rev. Jimmy Lin is the Chinese ministry leader of The Back to God Hour. With his staff in Palos Heights and Hong Kong, Rev. Lin has ministered to over 1.3 billion Chinese-speaking people around the world for 16 years through radio, literature, CD/DVD, Internet, and text message. His wife, Doris, is one of the translators of Today into the Chinese language, which now has a circulation of more than 45,000 copies.

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