We have separated the name of God from the identity of God.
Election years make this crystal clear. Many believers today praise the name of God, but reject the will of God, the identity of God. They are Christians (Christ-ians) but they advocate positions that are blasphemously anti-Christ.
We got here by telling people that all they need to do is accept some guy named “Jesus Christ” as Lord and Savior, and they’re eternally saved. We focus on his name, but we neglect his character traits, because they are politically incorrect. It’s easier to just tell people that he loves them, and leave it at that. Sorry, but that’s not good enough.
This idea of separating the name of God from the identity of God, in order to get all the benefits with none of the discomfort, is not Biblical. Separating God’s name from his identity leaves us with a bunch of meaningless letters. You can’t simply praise the name of God, yet blaspheme the identity of God. I’m not talking about sin. All Christians sin, and hopefully we feel the tug of conscience when we do. I’m talking about advocating morality that spits in the face of God.
In this verse, Daniel praises the name of God:
“…Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.” ~ Daniel 2:20
Now, go to the Book of Daniel and find one example of Daniel saying you can push for ungodly morality as long as you praise the name of God. You can’t, because he doesn’t. Daniel didn’t simply praise a name, he recognized and accepted an identity. Today’s theology has so separated the name of God from the identity of God, and has denied the characteristics of God in such a cowardly way, that many of today’s believers know God in name only. They wouldn’t be able to pick God out of a lineup.
Daniel chose the death penalty rather than violating God’s will, yet believers today think nothing of not only violating God’s will, but advocating moral positions that violate God’s will. Today, large swaths of the Bible are sacrificed on the altar of politics. However, Daniel chose to sacrifice his own life on the altar of God rather than sacrificing the Scriptures on the altar of politics.
“Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:19
Salvation is not a no-strings-attached deal.
And I love how the church has broken the Bible into “essential” issues and “nonessential” issues. We call some issues “primary” issues, and some issues “secondary” issues. And we label some issues “salvation” issues, as if some issues are not.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. ~ John 1:1
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. ~ John 1:14
“I and the Father are one.” ~ Jesus Christ, John 10:30
If you can read those verses and discern where the Bible ends and Jesus begins, and where Jesus begins and the Father ends, and where the Father begins and the Bible ends, and which parts of the Bible we can simply disregard as “nonessential,” and which parts of the Bible aren’t really that important to the Father after all and can be disregarded for political expedience, and which parts of the Father are “salvation” parts, and which parts of Jesus are not very important and can simply be considered “secondary” issues instead of primary issues, then you have revelation and insight unlike no other person who ever lived. The verses say that the Father, and Jesus, and the Scriptures are one! They are not a la carte. You can not pick and choose the parts you like.
Take a look at the Third Commandment:
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. ~ Exodus 20:7
Read that commandment in light of what I’ve written so far. Does it sound like God expects more of us than just not yelling “Jesus Christ” when we hit our thumb with a hammer? He does not want us claiming to be part of his team if we are not! Here’s an analogy.
The 2012 Super Bowl was between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. Picture a guy wearing a New York Giants uniform on the field. However, he doesn’t line up with the New York Giants. He lines up with the New England Patriots. He blocks for the Patriots. He scores touchdowns for the Patriots. He celebrates whenever the Patriots get a sack. But the Patriots lose. Does this guy now get to celebrate in the Giants’ locker room just because he called himself a Giant? He’s done nothing to show he’s a Giant. In fact, he has done everything to be an obstacle to the will and plan of the Giants’ coach. Do you think the Giants’ coach will let him into the locker room for the celebration? Absolutely not! Yet we believe that Christians who do everything worldly possible to thwart God’s game plan will be joyously welcomed into the great locker room in the sky simply because they identify with his name. It ain’t gonna happen.
The Bible is always proven true.