What’s In a Name?

If you grew up in ancient Israel, your name represented a lot. Every name meant something theologically significant. After all, the Hebrews were “God’s people.” The Old Testament name “Joshua” means “The Lord is Salvation”. More importantly, it corresponds directly to the New Testament name “Jesus.”

The other day, to help change the decor in our house (which helps me psychologically after Jordan’s passing), we bought a couple of chairs for our Family Room. As we were leaving the store, the salesman (a friend who was aware of my family’s recent tragedy) said, “Nick, by the way – there’s something you should know. The style of the chair you purchased – it’s called “Joshua.”

Common Grace

There’s a theological term used by scholars to describe the common good in all people: “common grace.” For example, one doesn’t have to be a follower of Christ to exhibit kindness, patience, love, etc. So where does that “charity in us all” come from?

Scholars attribute “common grace” to the Bible telling us that all mankind is created in the very image of God (“Imago Dei”, Genesis 1:27). I read a sobering argument for the biblical principle of “common grace” a few years ago, based on the following questions: “What if God removed His ‘common grace? What would the world look like? What would WE look like?”  I found a most striking answer to those questions in “The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions”:  “O Lord, I am astonished at the difference between the heaven I am bound for, and the hell I merit….O God, it is amazing that mankind can talk so much about our power and goodness, when, if you did not hold us back at every moment, we should be devils incarnate.”

BUT GOD…. – “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Paul to the Romans; 7:24-25)