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THE NAMES BY WHICH GOD REVEALS HIMSELF
We make our first mistake in attempting to define God or describe God if we think of "God" as a common noun rather than a personal noun. "God" is a name, the way of addressing a person.
Names are important. One of the first things we want to discover when we meet a person is what his/her name is. We all have several names or titles to which we respond. How people address us reveal something about the nature of their connection to us.
At church I’m called "Pastor Bruce or Pastor Montgomery." Sometimes when I’m being introduced, it is as "Dr. Montgomery." Among friends and peers I am called "Bruce." My wife calls me "Honey." My children call me "Dad." My granddaughter calls me "Gompa." If my dog could talk, she’d call me "Master." If someone calls my home phone and asks, "Is Robert there?" I know they’re either calling from the dentist or doctor or selling something (Robert is my first name, used on legal and official documents.
A primary means of self-revelation is a person’s name. Our names tell people something fundamental about us. Throughout Scripture, God reveals himself through various names or titles - both those he used to identify and describe himself and those others ascribed to him.
MANY names, titles, descriptions of God are in the Bible. All OT names for God are built around two core names: "El," (the more general and universal term) and "Yahweh" (the more personal and covenantal term). The particular name or title that appears in a particular text is not accidental on the part of the author. It depends on who is using it, the context in which it is spoken, and the purpose for which it is used.
Jesus, the Only Way to Heaven
Jesus said, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going... I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:1-4, 6)
The Holy Scriptures teach clearly that heaven is a real place, a permanent place, a personal place, a holy place, a place only for the born again and a place of reunion. Jesus proclaims that He alone is the way to heaven.
The Holy Spirit moved the apostle Peter in his discourse about salvation to the Sanhedrin (the religious leaders of his day) to boldly proclaim, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). There was no compromise or accommodation in Peter's preaching. In this anointed declaration, Peter wholly commits to Christ the unique status of being the one and only Savior. Peter and the other apostles never watered down the fact that apart from Jesus there is no salvation for anyone.
From the earliest beginnings of His earthly existence, Jesus was proclaimed to be the Savior. An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him that the child conceived in Mary was from the Holy Spirit. He also told Joseph, "She [Mary] will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). (The name "Jesus" comes from the Greek form of "Joshua" which means "Yahweh [the Lord] saves.")
Some may say that Jesus is a dogmatic and narrow-minded teacher when He says, "I am the way and the truth and the life." As Truth embodied however, the Lord alone can reveal truth to His people and unbelievers alike. He is our guide to living an abundant and fruitful life. His promise to the disciples who followed Him was that they should know the truth, and by the truth should be set free (John 8:32). When the crisis of His ministry and the hour of His sacrifice arrived, he summed up the whole purpose of His mission in the declaration that He had come into the world in order to "testify to the truth" (John 18:37). Jesus' own declaration is, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies" (John 11:25).
Jesus is serious when He says, "...No one comes to the Father except through me." No one is able to go to God and enjoy Him as their "Father who is in heaven" apart from having Christ as High Priest, Advocate and Mediator of their lives. Unrepentant sinners will face God as Judge, but they will never enjoy the benefits that are available to the children of God, such as eternal salvation, regeneration, and sanctification.
Jesus gives an allegory to particularly represent His ministry that could be named "The Shepherd and His Flock." In this parable Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep...whoever enters through Me will be saved... I am the Good Shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me..." (John 10:7-8,14). The Lord uses the word "know" (Greek ginosko) which refers to a relationship of trust and intimacy.
Do you know the Christ who is the only way into heaven?
Does He know you?