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And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

Names For God's People

By Louis Rushmore

Many of the names for God's people that appear in the Old Testament are found in the New Testament, too. These names include: "members" (1 Corinthians 12:27), "disciples" (Acts 6:1; 20:7), "believers" (Acts 5:14), "saints" (Acts 9:13; 1 Corinthians 1:2), "brethren" (Romans 8:14) and "children of God" (1 John 3:1-2).

Additional New Testament names for God's people include: "beloved of God" (Romans 1:7), "heirs of God" (Romans 8:17) and "royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9). There is also a special, new name for God's people used in the New Testament; that name is "Christian."

Several hundred years before the time of Jesus Christ the prophet Isaiah foretold of a new name that God would give his people. By divine inspiration he wrote:

"For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name" (Isaiah 62:1-2). (emphasis added)

Isaiah taught that once the Gentiles gained entrance into the kingdom (which is the church), all of God's people would "be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name." After the admission of Cornelius and his household the new name CHRISTIAN was given to God's people. The new name Christian appears three times in the New Testament:

". . . And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11:26).

"Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian" (Acts 26:28).

"Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf" (1 Peter 4:16). (emphasis added)

The term Christian uniquely describes one's relationship to his Redeemer and serves as a constant reminder of Christ. Appropriately, Christians are the individuals who comprise the "churches of Christ" (Romans 16:16). Both of these individual and church names for God's people glorify Jesus Christ. Do the individual and group names by which you are known religiously glorify Jesus Christ? Every soul should strive to be a Christian only since only Christians comprise the one, true church of the Bible.

H. A. "Buster" Dobbs, email:
P. O. Box 690192
Houston, Texas 77269-0192
(281) 469-3540

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