Naming a Baby: Meaning

I feel this may be too often overlooked today. Scripture places a heavy emphasis on the meanings of the names given. It may be said that this is because of the Hebrew culture, but we also find this in Christ who gave Peter his name. God forbids His name to be taken in vain or for emptiness, and in this He is saying that we should not lift up His name and proclaim to be His adopted children married to Christ without manifesting His Holy attributes. Granted, this is the beauty of the Gospel because every transgression of the law proves us to be breakers of the third commandment, and the grace of God in Christ is why we no longer fear the Lord, but rest in His Son. Nevertheless, God considers His name to be connected to His character or essence. In naming our children, who are created in His image, we want the name to reflect the hope we have for them in life.

I have found that after naming five children, the meaning behind the name seems to be more important to me than my own affection towards how it sounds. In this I am not saying that the other factors noted are of no consequence, but this far outweighs them in importance such that all the other factors could be perfect, but if the meaning behind the name does not reflect the hopes we have for this child's life, the name will not be chosen. I understand an argument may be made claiming that we are taking the meaning too seriously, but again, my purpose is not to defend our methods, but to expose them to those with interest.

It has been mentioned elsewhere that the name can be used for training the child, and this is especially true of the meaning. We have selected a verse of scripture for each child that aligns with the meaning of their name and will attempt to utilize this for their edification, training, and correction while they are under our care in hopes that the Lord can use this for two purposes. First, we hope He will find it fit to use their name's meaning to draw them near to Him throughout life (even after we are gone from this earth) especially in times when sin begins to harass them. Secondly, we hope the focus on the importance of their name and its meaning will give them a greater respect for the name of the Lord and draw them toward seeking to honor His name in all that they think, do, and say.

We have lost the passion for holiness out of fear of legalism in our nation, and this is dangerous. I heard an ad on the Christian radio station the other day informing me that I should not hold my Christian leaders to standards that only Christ can attain. This seems to be a dangerous statement to make. It is true that we will never attain perfection on this earth, but when our language begins to drop our expectations below God's standard of perfection (Matthew 5:48), we are in danger of rendering the Gospel useless. We are called to "stir up one another to love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24), and the question is to what standard are we stirring each other up toward. Our response to sin is not to be judgement, hatred, and alienation, but we are to seek repentance for our brothers in Christ when one's falling short of God's glory causes a rift between us and them (Matthew 18). Upon the transgressor seeking forgiveness we are to be fully restored to them without hesitation because we have won our brother back. This does not deny holiness but rather exalts it and magnifies the Gospel as we recognize our inability to attain to the holiness of God. The name of God is holy, and a serious focus on the meanings of the names of our children will hopefully prove beneficial as we seek to honor and glorify God through obedience in training these gifts for usefulness in His kingdom.

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