The Name of God’s People – George W. DeHoff

George W. DeHoff

One reason for being a member of the church of Christ is because of the name it wears. Names are important in the sight of men. We call our children, Peter, Paul and John but would not name one Nero or Judas Iscariot. “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.” Names are important in God’s sight. God changed Sarai’s name to Sarah (Gen. 17:15). He changed Jacob’s name to Israel (Gen. 35:10).

God planned to give his people a new name. Isaiah said, “And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call His servants by another name” (Isa. 65:15). A similar prophecy is found in Isaiah 56:5 and Amos 9:11-12. All these prophecies were fulfilled in Acts 11:26 when “the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” In Acts 26:28, after Paul preached to King Agrippa, the King said, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Peter said if any man suffer as a Christian, “let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf” (1 Pet. 4:16). Luke said there is salvation only in the name of Christ (Acts 4:12). Human names dishonor God. It is sinful and wrong to wear them.

The church is the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:23). A faithful wife wears the name of her husband. She would not think of stepping out with some other man and wearing His name. The church must wear the name of Christ and each member of it must wear His name. The church itself should be called the church of Christ. Jesus said, “I will build my church” (Mat. 16:18). If Christ said the church is His church, then it is Christ’s church or the church of Christ and ought to be called such. In Romans 16:16 Paul said, “The churches of Christ salute you.” Several congregations of the church are called churches of Christ. One congregation would be called a church of Christ.

Paul said it is sinful to wear anybody’s name unless that person was crucified for us. He said it is sinful to wear any name unless we were baptized in that name (1 Cor. 1:13). Christ was crucified for us. We were baptized in His name. We ought to wear His name. It is sinful and wrong to wear any other name. We must be members of the “One body”—the Church—to be saved.

Christ is the Saviour of the Body: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body” (Eph. 5:23).

He gave Himself for the Church: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25).

He purchased the Church with His blood: “feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

He reconciled in the one Body: “that he might reconcile both unto God in one body” (Eph. 2:16)

Christ added the saved to the Church: “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).

Since the “church” is the “body,” how can men be saved and not be members of the church? Again, since He “purchased” the church with His own blood, how can people be members of the purchased institution?

The church is spoken of as God’s family—God’s household.

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Eph. 3:14-15). Again: “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). From these scriptures we learn that the church is God’s family—God’s household. If people are saved before they are members of the church, then it runs thus: If you are saved, if you are a child of God, but not a member of the church; then you are a child but not in the family.

If you are a child, and not in the family (church), you accuse God of being the father of children that are not in His family! Again; you had to be “born again” to be saved: If you are saved before you become a member of the church,since the church is God’s family; it follows that you were born again, and remained out of the family of God. Why? (1) You had to be born again to be saved. (2) When saved, you are God’s child, or when born again, you are God’s child. If saved before you became one of God’s family, the church, then you claim to be a child and not in the family of God. I would hate to accuse God of having children that are not in His family, and I would certainly hate to acknowledge that I was a child of God and not in His family. God does not have children who are not in His family, and the family is the church. If follows that all of God’s children are members of His family, the church.

   Send article as PDF   

Author: Editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.