“Remember your name.”
Countless parents have told countless children some variation of “remember your name”. Not literally remember their name but be mindful of their “name”—their reputation.
My last name is Dorman. As a Dorman, I represent other “Dormans”. Maybe you don’t know a Dorman, but if you know me and you meet another Dorman, I would hope I have honored my name well. Patty’s and my children get reminded of their “name” as well.
As Christians, we have a “name” as well. Don’t think this is about “acting the part” of your name. Not at all. Our name given to us by the Father through Jesus is a gift, not a burden. When we receive the name of God in Jesus, we are receiving the much better end of the deal.
In 2 Timothy 1:9-12, the Apostle Paul is reminding Timothy of the same.
9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.2 Timothy 1:9-12
New International Version
One of the single greatest misunderstandings of God’s grace seems to be the nagging concern we have that we must do good deeds to earn God’s favor. And nothing could be further from the truth. There’s nothing we can do to earn it. Instead, it was the Lord’s “own purpose and grace”.
The Apostle isn’t reminding Timothy that God’s grace is unearned because Timothy forgets. He is making the point to encourage Timothy of the sovereignty of God. Remembering God is sovereign remains a source of strength for Christians.
Shame is a powerful deterrent from bad behavior in Eastern cultures. Those of us in Western cultures experience this to a degree, but not nearly to the level of shame in the world of Paul and Timothy. Bringing shame on one’s family would be most detrimental and could result in financial and social ruin.
And Paul reminds Timothy that the suffering Paul is experiencing is not a cause for shame. It’s not a cause for feeling disowned or disenfranchised. To feel shame at that level would put the mission Paul was on at Paul’s feet. Indeed, it would put the entire Christian experience at our control.
But it’s not at our control. The Lord anointed and appointed Paul to the mission he was on. The Lord called and qualified young Timothy. You, dear one in Jesus, are in the same position they were. Your faith is not “yours” because it’s not based on you. It is the Lord’s.
Since the grace we enjoy is entirely an act of God Himself, we don’t have to worry about shame or prestige. Instead, we live our lives for Him as He lives His life through us.
It’s too easy to try to live our lives as if the entire Christian experience is based on how we act. After all, that’s the only experience we know in our lives. How do we please our parents? How do we please our friends? How do we get praises and raises at work?
But when it comes to the Lord, His exchange with us is based on His grace and His ability to change us from the inside out. Do we have to submit to the process? Yes. Do we have a responsibility to obey? Yes. But the desire to submit and obey is a work of the Holy Spirit in us.
Be encouraged, sister or brother: “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day” (verse 12).
Remember your name: forgiven, redeemed, saved, coheir with Jesus, Child of God, and daughter/son of the Most High God because He loves you.