Paul's Passing Thoughts

“In The Name Of….” What Does it Mean?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on March 9, 2016 throw around a lot of terms without knowing what they are really saying. “In the name of…,” fill in the blank, is no exception. The most common inference of the term used by Christians is the idea that what we do is in the name of Jesus because that sanctifies our good works which really are not our own. Everything we do must be “in the name of Jesus” to affirm that it is not really us doing the good work. When we pray, our prayer must be “in the name of Jesus” so that God will acknowledge it. Like everything else we do, if the work is not sanctified by Jesus’ substitutionary obedience, it will be deemed “filthy rags” by God. That includes your love for God and others. If it is really you doing the loving, it is not in Jesus’ name.

What does the term really mean? Primarily, it has family implications. This is a universal concept. Who you are reflects on your family. As a believer, you no longer function as a representative of your family name on earth, but rather your family name in heaven. Granted, definitive evidence for this in the Bible is somewhat lacking because it is such a given norm, but the idea is there, and gives sense to a plethora of scriptures.

John 1:11 – He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

This is literal. “You must be born again.” You are a literal child of God because you believed in the name of Jesus who is the “Son of God” and the “Son of man.” Salvation is a family affair in the most literal sense. The gospel goes far beyond restoring man to the garden standard, the gospel invites all of mankind to be part of God’s literal family. Christ came to make new birth into the family of God possible.

Ephesians 3:14 – For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 of whom the whole family in the heavens and on earth is named, (YLT).

The family name also includes kingdom royalty. Christ is the firstborn and the prince of God’s kingdom, so that figures in as well. To name the name of Christ is to say that you are part of His family and also have sonship with the Father.

“For both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,” (Heb 2:11 ASV).

By the way, the sanctification spoken of here is definitive sanctification (to set apart) which is part of God’s elected plan of justification and does NOT mean that we have no part in progressive sanctification which is TOTALLY separate from justification. The four parts of the gospel are, definitive sanctification, justification, progressive sanctification, and redemption. These aspects are totally separate and serve different functions. The first two are a finished work, the third is progressive, and the fourth is future. Before the foundation of the earth, the Spirit set the elect (a classified group) apart for God’s righteousness (justification), and the progressive setting apart (colaboring with the Trinity in “putting off and putting on”) takes place during the believer’s life. The salvation of the body is future, and is NOT the salvation of the soul which is already a completed work through the new birth. A believer cannot be unborn, nor is one born progressively—birth is a onetime event. Churchianity makes all these aspects a process of progressive salvation found only in the institutional church as propagated by John Calvin in chapter 14 of book three in that Calvin institutes.

This is why we read the following in Matthew chapter 7:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

When these people make their case at the judgment, whether they know it or not, they are laying claim to being part of God’s literal family while their lives would have brought shame upon the family name. Christ replies that He never knew them intimately; in other words, He never knew them as family. However, more than likely, in the name of Jesus probably has a skewed meaning in their minds. While living a life of lawlessness (Greek: “anomia” or antinomianism), in the name of Jesus was some sort of religious formula dependent on the traditions of men and not biblical truth.

In contrast, “But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.’”

God knows His own children and those who bear the name of His Son depart from iniquity because they understand the family to which they belong.


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  1. Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on March 9, 2016 at 3:26 PM

    “While living a life of lawlessness (Greek: “anomia” or antinomianism), in the name of Jesus was some sort of religious formula dependent on the traditions of men and not biblical truth”

    I am reminded of the seven sons of Sceva in Acts 19 who tried to cast out demons. It was interesting that they invoked Jesus’ name, “about whom Paul preaches.” The demons said, “well we know who Paul is, and we know who Jesus is, but who are you?”. Even the demons did not acknowledge their claim to the family of God.


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