Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27).
What’s in a name? We give them to dogs, cars, cows, and I’m sure someone somewhere gives them to trees. And even when we name our children, we care much more about how the name sounds with our surname than what it means. It is obvious, however, that names in the Bible had a much greater significance than they do now; in fact a person’s name was the very definition of that person. When Jacob was born, he was given the name “heel catcher” that literally described the manner in which he was born and also the deceptive nature by which he would live. When God revealed to Jacob that his life would be much more that heel-catching, he gave him the name Israel–“he who contends with God.”
We also hear in Scripture of praying in the name of Jesus, calling on the name of the Lord, and not taking the Lord’s name in vain, and we react to such statements much more foolishly than the Jews did who would refuse to utter, “Yahweh,” out of fear of transgressing the commandment. We flippantly tack on “In Jesus’ name” at the end of prayers, not realizing that it is when we pray in accordance to the very being and character of Christ that our prayers are answered not when we add a magical phrase. You will find much more success in your prayer life if you pray, “Conform me to the image of thy Son for thy glory; amen,” than “Lord, please give me a new car, in Jesus’ name; amen.”
All this is to say that when God gives something a name, he does it for a glorious and holy purpose. When God gave the name, “church,” to those he would call out and redeem, a certain reverence should have been granted to that name for his naming it thus alone. Furthermore, when Christ hung on the cross and shed his precious blood for the church, the price of the name “church” went up a million fold. I don’t know about you, but if the very God of the Universe died for the sake of something, I would be sure that I knew and used the correct definition of that for which he died.