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For His Name’s Sake

God’s name is, in like manner, spoken of as the end of his acts of goodness towards the good part of the moral world, and of his works of mercy and salvation towards his people. As 1 Samuel 12:22, “The Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3, “He restoreth my soul, he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness, for his name’s sake.” Psalm 31:3, “For thy name’s sake, lead me, and guide me.” Psalm 109:21, “But do thou for me … for thy name’s sake.” The forgiveness of sin in particular, is often spoken of as being for God’s name’s sake. 1 John 2:12, “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.” Psalm 25:11, “For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.” Psalm 79:9, “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name; and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.” Jeremiah 14:7, “O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name’s sake.” …

When God, from time to time, speaks of showing mercy, and exercising goodness, and promoting his people’s happiness for his name’s sake, we cannot understand it as of a merely subordinate end. How absurd would it be to say, that he promotes their happiness for his name’s sake, in subordination to their good; and that his name may be exalted only for their sakes, as a means of promoting their happiness! especially when such expressions as these are used, “For mine own sake, even for mine own sake will I do it; for how should my name be polluted?” and “Not for your sakes do I this, but for my holy name’s sake.”

Jonathan Edwards, WJE 1:112.

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Jesus—A God-given Name

The first angel, who appeared to the shepherds, gave them this message, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” That word “Saviour” reminds us of what the angel of the Lord said to Joseph, “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His Name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.”

The condition of Joseph, when he heard this Name for the first time, is not altogether without instruction. The angel spake to him “in a dream.” That Name is so soft and sweet that it breaks no man’s rest, but rather yields a peace unrivalled,—”the peace of God.” With such a dream, Joseph’s sleep was even more blessed than his waking.

The Name of Jesus has evermore this power, for, to those who know its preciousness, it unveils a glory brighter than dreams have ever imaged. Under its wondrous spell, young men see visions, and old men dream dreams; and these do not mock them, as ordinary dreams do, but they are faithful and true prophecies of what shall surely come to pass. This Name brings before our minds a vision of glory, in the latter days, when Jesus shall reign from pole to pole; and yet another vision of glory unutterable when His people shall be with Him where He is, and shall reign with Him for ever and ever.

The Name of Jesus was comforting at the first mention of it by the angel of the Lord, because of the words with which it was accompanied; for they were meant to remove perplexity and anxiety from Joseph’s mind. The angel said to him, “Fear not;” and, truly, no name can banish fear like the Name of Jesus; it is the beginning of hope, and the end of despair.

It is worthy of note that the angel commenced his message to the shepherds in a similar way: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Let the sinner but hear of “a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,” and, straightway, he hopes to live, he rises out of the deadly lethargy of his hopelessness, and, looking upward, he sees a reconciled God, and fears no longer.

This Name of Jesus appears to us even more full of rare delights when we meditate upon the infinite preciousness of the glorious Person to whom it was assigned. Ah, here is a Jonathan’s wood dripping with honey from every bough, and he that tasteth it shall have his eyes enlightened! We have no common Saviour, for neither earth nor Heaven could produce His equal. At the time when the Name was given to Him by God, Jesus had not been seen by mortal eyes, for He lay as yet concealed from human gaze; but soon He came forth, having been born of Mary by the power of the Holy Ghost,—the matchless Holy Child Jesus. He bore our nature, but not our corruption. He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, but yet in His flesh there was no sin. He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” This Holy One is the Son of God, and yet He is the Son of man; this surpassing excellence of nature makes His Name most precious.

—Charles H. Spurgeon
Christ’s Incarnation (Passmore and Alabaster, 1901).