The Challenge of Living Up to Our Names

I n Colossians 3:5-11, Paul discusses the qualities that a man must put aside once he obeys the gospel. In. verses 12-16 he goes on to tell the church at Colossae the good qualities they must now possess as children of God. He prefaces his remarks in verses 12-16 by calling Christians three different names. The ASV reads in verse 12a, "Put on therefore, as God's elect, holy and beloved. "


If we know who we are and what God wants us to be, it will effect the way in which we behave. In the Old Testament era, in particular, God often changed the names of men and women. He gave them names with characteristics that He wanted them to possess or realize. The same is true in the New Testament era. We're given several divinely appointed names once we become Christians. God expects us to live up to our names.

When physical man loses his identity the consequences are tragic. There is no recollection of the past. No memory of father and mother. No idea of one's true identity or nature. As tragic as that is, losing one's spiritual identity is far worse.

? First, Paul calls Christians "God's elect." The word elect means chosen. Christians are now God's chosen people. The Israelites were the chosen people in the Old Testament. Their choosing was based upon God's great love for Abraham. In Ephesians 1:4 we read, "... even as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world..." Our chosen status was initiated by God before He said, "Let there be light." Being chosen makes us feel special. God chose to save us. We choose to accept His salvation through obedience. As a result, we become God's chosen.

? Second, through inspiration, Christians are called "holy." The Old Testament worship manual of Leviticus has holiness as its theme. The key quotation by God in that book is, "You be holy, for I am holy." God wanted His nation to be separated from the baggage of Egyptian paganism and the future Idolatry of Canaan. The word holy means "set apart." It shares the same Greek root as sanctification and saint. We are set apart from the rest of the world as God's special people. We are in a category all of our own.

? Finally, followers of God are called "beloved." The doctrine of "the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man," from a purely denominational perspective is wrong. God is not the Father of the devil's children. The devil is, "... a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." John 8:44. The notion that God loves outside of Christ with the same degree of love that He has for His own, serves only to cheapen His grace, and it is simply not true. Only Christians are truly God's dearly beloved. That's not egotistical or narrow-minded; it's Bible truth. However, any man can have access to God's family and His special love by accepting His conditions for salvation.

It is indeed a challenge, but let's live up to our names. Christians are God's chosen people. They are to be holy and set apart from the rest. And Christians are beloved by the Father.

By Unknown Author

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