The New Name

J. D. Conley
February 10, 2013

When Peter said, "If any man suffer as a Christian..." (lPet.4:16), he was emphasizing the tremendous importance of suffering and glorifying God with the right appellation. In other words, the name Christian is unique compared to other terms (e.g., "disciple," "believer"). "Christian" is a proper noun. It denotes ownership and submission. In a special way it portrays the wearer as a reverent devotee.

These observations are not without Biblical support. When the prophet Isaiah walked this earth, he made allusion in (Is.62:l-2) to five intriguing facts: (1) Righteousness or salvation would go forth (2) from Jerusalem, which (3) the Gentiles would "see" [i.e., experience]; (4) a "new name" would be given (5) by God Himself.

Notice the thrilling fulfillment of these minute details: In Acts 2, upon the occasion of the inception of the church of Christ, (1) the message of righteousness/salvation went forth (2) from Jerusalem - but to the Jews only (Acts 2:5). From Acts 2 to Acts 9, converts to Christianity consisted only of Jews (Acts 11:19). It is not until Acts 10 that the church acquired her first Gentile adherents (Acts 10:48; 11:18), and its not until Acts 11 that the first Gentile church is noted (Acts 11:20-22). In dramatic fulfillment of the words of Isaiah, (3) the Gentiles saw God's righteousness/salvation! It is only at this juncture that we find the New Testament using for the first time the name "Christian." hi fact, Luke tells us (Acts 11:26) that "the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." Just as Isaiah foretold, (4) a new name had been given. This glorious new name was not some term of derision formulated by the enemies of the church. Isaiah said the name was given (5) by the mouth of the Lord. Do you wear this new name - "Christian?" It is crucial you do for there is salvation in no other name (Acts 4:12)!