“and there is salvation in on one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
Name – The declaration of Peter is not as shocking today as it was in first century Palestine. Peter’s announcement was pure heresy; blasphemy of the highest order. Peter proclaimed that the name of Jesus was the same as the name of God.
Today we are quite comfortable with this identification. But for Peter this would have been an outright violation of the third commandment. When God said, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” He was not speaking of our definition of swearing. The third commandment is about honoring God’s name as the final stamp of approval in every consideration and every utterance. The third commandment is about who rules. It is a commandment about authority. The use of the name recalls the covenant relationship. Using God’s name meant calling on God to witness and approve what was being said and to endorse the action as holy.
When Peter declares that the name of Jesus is the only name of salvation, he is saying that Jesus rules, absolutely and completely. When we call on the name of Jesus, we use the name in remembrance of the covenant relationship. We are asking Jesus to endorse us. We are using His name for purposes that reflects His character. To use the name of the Lord in vain is to use the name without purpose, to use the name without His desired end. Whenever I ask Jesus to endorse my words or deeds by using His name, but I do not intend to fulfill His purposes, I speak blasphemy.
Jesus wants us to use His name, not as a magical formula, but as a confirmation that we are in alignment with His purposes and expressing Who He is. When I pray, “In the name of Jesus”, I am telling Jesus that what I pray is aligned with what He wants. Is that the way you pray? Are you aware of your request for His endorsement? Are your purposes holy?