People change their names for a number of reasons—marriage, religious conversion, adoption of a new culture or homeland, embarrassment at or dislike of an unusual name, or even admiration of or a desire to be like a particular person. A man in Britain recently changed his name (as well as his dress and behavior) to that of a well-known Hollywood movie actor.
God changed the names of a number of prominent biblical persons, including Abram and Sarai. Such name changes normally denoted a change in status or circumstances. They also indicated the sovereign authority of the one granting the new name.
God gave Abram a new name when He reaffirmed His covenant promise to him: “This is My covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram [meaning ‘exalted (with respect to) father’]; your name will be Abraham [sounding like abhamon, ‘father of a multitude’], for I have made you a father of many nations….As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah [meaning ‘princess]. I will bless her and surely give you a son by her….She will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her” (Gen. 17:4-5, 15-16).
Thus those name changes constituted another pledge that God would fulfill His promise. And every time Abraham and Sarah heard their new names they would be reminded of God’s promise and they would be encouraged to count on His faithfulness.
A reminder: As believers in Jesus Christ we have come under His authority, and go by His name, being known as Christians. In fact, we have been reborn into the family of God, and so we should behave as His children. When we hear the name Christian, let us remember God’s faithfulness to keep His promises to us.
UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT
NCCP Ecumenical Ministry of the Church of the Risen Lord
University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC
May you have a blessed and prosperous2014! 🙂 God loves you!