Sunday, March 11, 2007

THE NAME by Charles Woodruff

“This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:8-11.

These two magnificent passages are so beautiful in their poetic elegance, because to take us to the highest mountaintops in the English language, nothing surpasses our Authorized King James Version. Yes, I know some of the language is a bit hard to fully comprehend sometimes for us modern readers. The KJV language is considered “archaic”, but it is more accurate to acknowledge that our language has deteriorated since 1769 when the Authorized Version was last updated.

I know, also, that the New Testament was originally written in Greek, and that the Lord, and most characters in the New Testament spoke in Aramaic. I know there was no English language back then, in Judea, or Galilee, or anywhere else. But, that is why we have resources like Strong’s, or Young’s concordances, Berry’s Interlinear NT, and Thompson Chain Bible, or other reference Bibles, to aid our understanding. After all, we are to study the Bible, not just read it!

In these two texts, we need none of these resources to understand the meaning. Just looking at the plain, naked word of God, without any other aid, we can see the most prominent thing in these verses is The name! This name, Jesus, comes from the Hebrew word Yeshua, or Jehoshua (Joshua). There appear to be two other characters in the Bible with the name trans-lated as “Jesus” in the New Testament, and translated as “Joshua” in the Old Testament. The literal meaning of the word is “Jehovah is salvation”, or simply “salvation”.

Those who crucified Jesus believed He had no power to save. They were looking for a Messiah who would overthrow the Romans and build a new nation. But as these ‘builders’ rejected and crucified Him, he was revealed by virtue of his resurrection, to be the “chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20). In other words, the cornerstone of His own church of which He said: “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

As Peter states in Acts 4:12, “there is salvation in no other”. No other name given to all mankind. This means there are not a number of different roads to God, but only one. This also means there is not a different savior for Orientals (such as Buddha), for Arabs (such as Mohammed), or Indians (such as Krishna), or any of the many gods that are worshipped in this world. None of them can save because they are all now dead, if they ever lived at all. Some are mere inventions of man, because man is incurably religious and will worship something, even if it is self worship. Atheism worships self, saying in effect, “I am god”. It is the core of humanism, socialism and communism, which also worship the state. There is no salvation in any of these systems! It is all dead religion!

In this day and time if you ask someone if they are saved, they may reply to you, as some have to me; “saved from what?” People do not see themselves as lost, hence no need to be saved. But, God sees it different. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Couple that passage with many more such as: “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:10-11). (Here Paul is quoting from Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1).

I’m sure you must see, today in this day of word twisting and “double speak”, nobody believes there is sin, only “mistakes”. So, because of our society today, and to a lesser extent, throughout the ages, most don’t think they need a savior. But, according to our second text, they will. One day, all will see it. Alas! For so many it will be too late. But, they will bow. Man’s will is in bondage to his sin nature. Only God can “make him willing” to be saved. He is still calling out His elect whom He will one day gather from the entire universe. (Matthew 24:31). I do not know who they are, but God does. My obligation and privilege is to declare the name of Jesus Christ to all men and women that I can reach. (Mark 16:15-16)

The striking thing about the passage I quoted from Philippians is that Paul states that every knee is going to bow, and every tongue is going to confess that Jesus is Lord! This means that Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Khrushchev, Pope John Paul, Pope Benedict (and all the other popes), Madeline Murray-O’Hare, Pol Pot, Hugh Hefner, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin-Laden, Voltaire, the Dali Lama, Judas Iscariot, George Bush, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, Billy Graham, you and I, and all mankind great and small, will one day confess The Name; The name that is above all others, Jesus Christ!

He said “things in heaven, things in earth, and things under the earth”. Even Satan and all his legions will bow and will confess The Name! When God wraps up all events in this world, when all is said and done, The Name will be the only name that matters.

I want to be clear here. Just knowing or saying the name of Jesus is not enough. Much of religion does that by chant or rote. It’s not enough to pray a sinner’s prayer coached by a soul winner if Holy Spirit conviction, and the affections of your heart and are not in it.
As Paul stated: “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:8-10). The scripture is saying, confess Jesus as Lord. Believe (trust in, rely on, cling to) in the heart (your innermost being), that He is the risen Christ, and you shall be saved.

When the Philippian jailer in Acts cried out trembling in fear and conviction: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they (Paul and Silas), said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house” (Acts 16:30-32).

It is my sincere prayer for you, dear reader, if you don’t know this One whose name is above every name, that you will be compelled by the Holy Spirit to call on Him. If I can be of any assistance to point you to Christ, please contact me.

God Bless you, Charles Woodruff Sr. Written on May 1, 2006 A.D.
Revised March 11, 2007 my
Snail mail: 90 Raymond Ray Street, Newnan, GA 30265

In memory of my son, Chuck. 12/14/1962- 02/13/2004- (You are missed)!

Check out these:

The Name- Franklin Graham-Nelson Publishing- Nashville- 2002
An interesting and well written book. Reading it sparked my thoughts.

All of Grace - Charles Haddon Spurgeon- Pilgrim Publications- Pasadena, TX- 1999 edition- Most anything By CHS is worth reading!

Names of God (in the Old Testament) - Nathan Stone-Moody Press-Chicago-Original date: 1944.My new edition is 2006.
The copy I had in 1969 I read several times. A very concise, yet satisfying look at God’s compound names in the Old Testament, and the connection to His attributes and actions. I recommend it!

The Names of God in Holy Scripture- Andrew Jukes-Kregel Publishers- Grand Rapids, MI- my copy is 1972 edition- This work was originally published in London in 1888. It is considered by many the classic work on the names of God in the Bible. Spurgeon thought he spiritualized too much in Types in Genesis, but still commended him by saying “Jukes dives deep” (from Commenting and Commentaries by C.H. Spurgeon in the section on the book of Genesis).

Right with God- John Blanchard- Banner of Truth- Edinburgh, Scotland- second edition- 1996. Originally written in the 1980’s, and it is an excellent examination of where you stand with God, what God expects of you, and the way of true salvation. A handy evangelistic tool.

(All available from online stores)