I was once teaching an elderly Asian couple how to complete a form. The wife kept on copying her husband’s name and I had a difficult time trying to explain that that was her husband’s name and not hers and that she had to write her own name in the space. After some frustrating moments I eventually realised that in her culture the woman loses her former identity on marriage, completely suppresses who she was and assumes her husband’s identity thereafter.
It’s like that when you become a Christian. Who you were beforehand is irrelevant. Unwanted, abandoned, mistreated, abused, a sinner, an adulterer, a thief, a murderer – it doesn’t matter. Once you are in Christ you have a new identity. You have repented of all that you were and you have been made new. You become a son or daughter of God and all your past is wiped away.
You even have a new name that will be yours for eternity.
I will give them—within the walls of my house— a memorial and a name far greater than sons and daughters could give. For the name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear! (Isa. 56:5 NLT).
Getting born again with a new identity so that you can then be developed by the Holy Spirit into increasingly becoming like Jesus is the most exciting thing that we can encounter this side of eternity (Read John 3:1-8 to see how Jesus explained being born again through the Holy Spirit to Nicodemus). We have become a new creation where the old has gone and the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).
So whatever your name is now will not be your name for eternity. Whatever you have been has been forgotten by Jesus when you turned to Him for forgiveness. Whatever has happened to you can be healed when you turn to Jesus for your identity, worth and value.
God already knows your new name that gives you new beginnings, new hopes, new blessings. He calls you “Beloved”, “Mine” and “Desired”.
But however wonderful our new names are, it is the name of Jesus that is above every name (Phil. 2:9). It is only by the name of Jesus that we are forgiven and declared righteous and that we are healed of every disease and every bondage. Only because Jesus overcame sin and death for us can we be redeemed.
If Jesus loved us this much we can only love Him in return and praise His wonderful name.
*All quotes from NLT.