My name for the purpose of this blog is “Scoot”. It is the label by which people might easily refer to the things I write, and to their author. “Scoot” is much easier to use than “you know…that guy who writes eclectic essays resulting from his personal round-about journey back to the savior”. Yep – “Scoot” is my blogger name. I suppose I initially used this name in an attempt to maintain some level of anonymity, but I blew that long ago. Now, it’s just a label that is a little cuter than…
…my personal name. I actually have 3 of them. When my mother was mad at me, she would use all three of them. I knew I was in trouble then. When my dad was mad at me, he used a different type of label. It usually consisted of a 4-letter word with …”head” tacked on the end. (Just kidding – my Dad rarely swore). It served the same purpose, though. I knew I was in trouble, and that I had better respond post-haste if I didn’t want to find myself in even more trouble – kind of like running from the cops (something I really have zero experience at, but I’ve watched lots of TV and movies, so I know it’s probably not a good idea).
We have lots of different labels that society uses to identify us – social security numbers, driver’s license number, my Delta skymiles #, etc. They’re all labels that identify our uniqueness from everybody else in the world. It’s our given name, however, that truly identifies us. It is the label that identifies everything we were (Hi, Mom! Yep, I’m still stupid sometimes. But don’t forget – I’m still your little boy! J), everything we are, and everything we ever will be. Our name identifies everything we believe, everything decision we make, every action we ever took – good or bad. These things, of course, make up who we have become. I’m sure there is some link between this and the new name that is well-known in LDS circles, but I haven’t really figured it out yet, and that is not the topic of this post.
Jesus Christ has a name. It is “Jesus Christ”. He has been referred to by other names over the millennia, but the list is long and we know and readily recognize them all. Therefore, for the purpose of this essay, let’s just stick with “Jesus Christ”. In the LDS.org scripture search, “my name” returns 428 results. Just as with our own names, we can think of Christ’s name as a label that identifies everything He ever was, everything He is, and everything He ever will be. That’s a pretty amazing label!
Before we proceed, I would like to quote a selection of scriptures referencing “my name” or some variation on the theme. First, I would reference a previous essay discussing D&C section 93, verse 19 of which says:
I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.
Verse 1 of this section is also one of great significance:
Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;
The sacrament prayer over the bread in D&C 20:77 says:
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
The baptismal prayer, in D&C Section 20:73 says:
The person who is called of God and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name: Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
The second of the ten carnal commandments is given in Exodus 20:7:
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth.
Finally, the Savior said in 3 Nephi 27:7:
Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name that he will bless the church for my sake.
Emphasis added using underlines.
Obviously, this is only a small sampling of the 428 references to “my name” in the scriptures, but it’s enough to hopefully begin to ponder what is represented by the label “Jesus Christ” that is referenced so frequently in the scriptures.
Referencing back to the first paragraph, “Scoot” is a label for “…that guy who…etc.” Likewise, Jesus Christ is a label for many things:
- The Only Begotten Son of God the Father
- The Father of our Salvation
- The Worker of the great atonement
- The Creator of the Universe
- He who is of perfect integrity in all things, which perfection is the very source of His glory
- He who sees the end from the beginning
- He whose mercy and justice, love and forgiveness, humility and glory is perfect beyond human comprehension
- The list could go on and on
In short – the name of Jesus Christ is a label that signifies power, righteousness, perfection and love, all perfectly earned through His own obedience and sacrifice to the will of The Father – grace by grace – until He received of the fullness (D&C 93:12-13).
In My Name
What does it mean, then, when we do something “in the name of Jesus Christ”; if we approach the father “in the name of Jesus Christ”? I suggest that it means that the only way we can approach the Father, and the only way we can act on His behalf, is in the spirit signified by His name. We cannot pray, we cannot bless, we cannot ordain, unless it be done in the spirit of power, righteousness, perfection and love that is represented by His Holy Name. Any attempts to act on His behalf “in any degree of unrighteousness” (D&C 121:37) is invalid, without power and authority.
Call on My Name
When we call on His name, we call on the power that is, frankly, ours as much as it is His, as long as we do so in perfect righteousness. To call on His name is to desire and act, as He always did, with perfect faith and perfect love – a perfect motivation free of jealousies, fears and pride (D&C 67:10). Without this attitude of humility and love, our desires are self-serving and imperfect, and cannot be realized.
Believe in My Name
Similarly, to believe in the name of Jesus Christ is to cast off the natural man – the temptations, temporary satisfaction, and carnal pleasures of babylon, and believe in Him. It is to believe that His perfection is possible; that goodness, love unfeigned, kindness, even glory is the true natural state of the universe, and that all that we normally experience in this life is a carnal, fallen, telestial aberration, as described in my post “The Great Lie and the Great Promise”. By believing in His name, we set our sights on a truth that the world rejects; a truth that requires great faith to act upon, because its manifestations are rarely evident in the world around us. This truth, as so beautifully express in the Sermon on the Mount, (Matthew chapters 5-7), is impossible for the unbeliever to accept, but soul-satisfying music to those whose hearts would turn to Him and truly believe on His name.
I think that to take the Lord’s name in vain actually has little to do with what words we use, and much more to do with our intent when we invoke His name. The previous referenced D&C 121 describes it perfectly, referencing the powers of Heaven:
That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
In other words, to profess belief in His name, to call on His name, to do anything in His name for any purpose other than the blessing of His children in accordance with His will is to take His name in vain. It is to invoke His name with no possibility of bringing to bear the power of His perfection…because our motives are unclean and, therefore, we are unclean.
…Take upon them the name of thy Son
This is, in my mind, the crowning manifestation of the name of Jesus Christ – to take upon us His name. This can only be done by the power of the atonement. To take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, we must spiritually cast aside our own name – the label that signifies all that we have become or may become on our own, and allow Him to re-make us. Truly, to take upon ourselves His name is to:
- Open ourselves up to the real possibility of perfection – His perfection.
- Realize that any standard of goodness that we might have personally adopted over the course of our lives is infinitely inadequate.
- To embrace the hope, even the promise, that through Him we can become perfect in power, righteousness, perfection and love, just as He is.
- Choose to act rather than to be acted upon, because it is the truth that is represented by His name that will set us free, as promised in John 8:32.
- Strive to do all that we do with a motivation of love – to always choose to build up rather than tear down
- To act in faith, not fear; love, not selfishness; the promised power of righteousness, not the helplessness of a victim of satan’s lies.
On this Christmas Day, 2014, I celebrate the name of Jesus Christ and all that it stands for. I cast off the chains of death, choosing to embrace to power of love that is the source of all creation. I choose hope, life, goodness, and love…even perfection, and declare in His Holy Name, and in all the power that the name Jesus Christ brings, that I am His. I reject the lies of that evil one who would have me believe that I am not good enough – that I am a sinner by nature. No, I am power, righteousness, perfection and love, and I so testify in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen!