For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. (Romans 10:13—NKJV)

I have always believed that you have a great opportunity to bequeath a legacy to your child when you name him. Of course from birth you instill in your child that he bears your surname everywhere he goes and that the family’s honor travels with him and rides upon his choices.

But, it is with his given first and middle names that special, choice blessings can be passed on from the parent. I am saddened that so many parents today opt for novelty, cuteness, family pressure, a statement of fleeting feeling of the moment, or the statistical popularity of a name. How much better for parents to rise to the challenge of bestowing a life-long blessing and setting a lofty goal for him by thoughtfully crafting a name combination which encourages a God-ward bent of conscience and soul?

I arrived at this conviction both through my natural childhood interest in why I received my own name and also through a study of the Scriptures. It is often instructive to research the meaning of the names of various characters in the Bible. The meanings regularly shed light on the biblical story being recounted. This is expressly true when you review the biblical teachings found in the names by which God reveals Himself.

While Moses was being commissioned by God to lead the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt (Exodus 3:13–14), it was a matter of great importance to Moses that he know the name of God and in whose name he was sent. God gave His name as Jehovah meaning “I will be, that is, I will be”—He is the self-existing One, “I am.” It is this name which speaks of the quality that separates Jehovah from all the gods among men. It is in this name that Israel rests its confidence knowing God as the covenant-keeping God of their fathers.

Biblically, names are not simply words by which a person is identified. This is illustrated in the words of our Lord, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22, 19:29).” A name is a word which embodies (stands in place of) all that a name implies—authority, character, rank, majesty, power, excellence, and, in short, all that a name covers—His name’s sake.

Matthew 28:19 states, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The early apostles faced trial for their preaching and Acts 5 recounts at the conclusion of the trial, “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” The same sentiment is evident in 3 John 7 “because they went forth for His name’s sake,” Acts 9:16 “for My name’s sake,” and in Acts 15:26, “men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Our text is now fully capable of being understood for the Lord’s name is not without intrinsic meaning nor is it some sort of talisman which, by repetition, a person is promised eternal life. The Lord’s name stands for who He is and all that He is in person, power, promise and performance. Philippians 2:9–11 prophetically declares that it is at the name of Jesus your knee and, in fact, every man’s knee will bow, “Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Would it not be better to bow the knee now and trust in Jesus’ redemption work at Calvary? Acts 4:12 says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

With such stock placed in the meaning of the “name of the Lord,” it is small wonder why “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” is one of the Ten Commandments. It is also highly reasonable to hold the written revelation of the Word of God in great esteem as infallible and inerrant because Psalm 138:2 states, “For you have magnified Your word above all Your name.”

Have you submissively “bowed” in faith while calling upon the LORD to save you? Are you bearing the name of the LORD everywhere you go with integrity and courage worthy of His name? What are you teaching about faith in the names you bestow? Trust and obey.