Grace Immersion

Bonus Day 55

Grace Names

Read 2 Timothy 1:8–10

To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:7

When I was a kid I had a lot of trouble with my first name: “René” drew lots of laughs, especially in junior high, as our school’s wise guys mocked it for being “a girl’s name”. I grew to loathe it so much I told people my name was Ray! But that all changed when someone told me the origins of the word. “René” apparently comes from the same Latin root as “renaissance”, literally meaning “rebirth”. That made it cool (Well, that, and the fact that there was a Mister Universe winner named René!). It might sound funny, but as a young teen the discovery of my name’s meaning — and of cool athletes with my name — literally led to a redefinition of myself! My self-esteem and sense of destiny took a step up.

Names can do that to you. So can nicknames. Maybe you were called something on the playground, or at home, that was a put-down: “Loser”. “Disappointment”. “Stoner”. “Rebel”. Maybe that became a secret, internal name that, in your mind, partly defines you. But by His grace, God can change your name!

In fact, in the Bible God repeatedly changed names to reflect His grace toward people. In Genesis 17, he changes Abram (“high father”) to Abraham (“father of many nations”). In Genesis 32 he changes Jacob (“supplanter”) to Israel (“having power with God”). In John 1:42 he changes Simon (“small stone”) to Peter (“rock”). While Gideon is still hiding in a wine press, God calls him a “mighty man of valor”. In every case, God is predicting something about that person’s destiny. The new names are definitely not a description of what that person has accomplished; they’re a reflection of how God sees that person and their potential! He is calling them to a higher, bigger life!

Now think of how God describes you, as a believer, throughout the New Testament! Did you know that the word “saint” is used to describe Christians 51 times in the New Testament? If you read the context, it’s clear that these characters were far from perfect. Yet God calls them this because by His grace He is changing their identity! And He by His grace anoints you with a great destiny! Try this: Say “I am a saint!” out loud. Go ahead. Now did you say it with a sarcastic tone or a sneer? That’s probably a sign that the concept of grace still needs to seep down into your soul.

When you were growing up, what nicknames did kids give you?

Is it easy or hard to think of yourself as a saint?

Thank God today that by His grace you have a new name, a new identity: You are a saint!

Have I thanked God for His grace to me today?

Have I shown grace to someone today?