Like Precious Faith
By: Frank J. Ewart
Peter’s second letter was addressed to “them that have obtained like precious faith with us,” This faith was a concrete, definite, specific doctrinal faith. Jude exhorts us to earnestly contend for it, and declares that it was once for all delivered to the saints. Paul says, “I delivered unto you that which I also received.”
When Peter and John, the two stalwart Jesus Name preachers, were apprehended and threatened with death, and the council was about to have them stoned to death, Gamaliel, a teacher of great authority, said, “Let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God” (Acts 5:38-39).
His logic seemed unanswerable, and they refrained from passing the death sentence. However, neither they nor their modern successors can leave this doctrine alone. They made the Jesus Name doctrine a live issue forbidding the apostles to preach it. If it were unnecessary or unimportant as a tenet of the apostolic faith, then Peter and John would have ducked the persecution and agreed to say nothing further about it. The fact that they continued to preach it and demonstrated its power by publicly healing the sick proves that in their judgment it was absolutely indispensable. Peter’s faith is expressed in the startling statement: “For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
The name of God is the great kernel truth of which all else but forms the shell. The one superb, pivotal, fundamental truth to which every other part must become subservient by its very nature.
Doctor Gaebelien said to William Phillips Hall, “If there is one theme above another that the church of God is lamentably ignorant about, it is the name of God.” Mr. Hall told this writer that this was what persuaded him to write the book, A Remarkable Biblical Discovery-The Name of God.
The intrinsic meaning of God’s name is salvation. In Psalm 91:16, “With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation:’ the Hebrew word rendered salvation is Yahoshua-the name which means “I Am That I AM.” Jesus is the Greek form of this name. So it is written, “Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The next verse discloses the Spirit’s purpose in naming Him Jesus: “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:22-23). he startling, revolutionary truth here is, that the names Jesus and Emmanuel are synonymous.
The reason why we insist that the name of God -Jesus-must be given a superlative place in the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel is because it was the dominant factor in the apostolic precept and practice. We cannot improve on the apostolic pattern. “Every word of God is pure … add not thou to his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” The records in the Book of Acts from the second chapter to the end strictly adhere to the apostolic policy, expressed by Paul: “And whatsoever ye do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17). Every revival service was a literal fulfillment of Jesus’ words in Luke 24:47: “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Pentecost was not for Jews only; “all nations” definitely means Gentiles in every nation in the world.
The priest and elders, being well versed in the Hebrew and Greek languages, with their respective idioms, saw that the apostles’ preaching claimed Jesus to be the Emmanuel of Isaiah’s prophecy. Emmanuel was their Messiah, the One who was to come with the name of Jehovah. No wonder they resisted such preaching and practice unto the death: “Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us” (Acts 5:28).
The name of God defined the blood of Jesus. The name has in it the virtue and power of the Cross. Jesus was the Lamb of God. The only lamb whose blood was without taint, spot, or blemish. He takes away the sin of the world. Every accredited compendium of theology admits that Jesus had to be God in order to make atonement for sin. To certify to the world that Jesus was after the order of Melchisdec-He came in or with His Father’s name.
Jesus is God’s redemptive name. Its equivalent Jehovah originated in the Cross. The Cross was no afterthought with God: Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Being in the form of God, “he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:8-11).
The name of Jesus being the biggest fact of the atonement is necessarily the biggest factor in Christian baptism. It is contrary to scriptural practice to announce that so many were baptized in water. “They were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus” is the scriptural announcement, invariably. Water does not make the baptism Scripturally valid. You can baptize people in water and not baptize them “as the scriptures hath said.” In true baptism the penitent soul confesses that he takes the death of Jesus as the substitute for his death as a sinner. That his “old man” is buried with Christ and left by faith in the watery grave never to know a resurrection, and he rises a “new creation” to walk henceforth in newness of life. All this is involved in baptism into the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord.
When preachers try to minimize the absolute importance of being baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, they manifest the fact that their revelation of the gospel as preached by the apostles is negligible. It is impossible to find one record of a revival in the apostolic age without a baptismal service. Wherever it is not mentioned it is plainly implied. The apostles never laid hands on a soul to receive the Holy Spirit baptism unless they were first baptized into the name of the Lord.
The model experience is Pentecost. God doesn’t and never did deal in nonessentials. Acts 2:38 and Acts 19 make it obligatory for people to be baptized in order to receive the Holy Spirit baptism in the normal scriptural way. Cut the name of Jesus out of Acts 2:38 and you cut the very heart of the commandment out; cut the speaking with tongues out of Acts 2:4 and you have deleted the scriptural manifestation of the Holy Spirit, that your body is the temple of the living God.
Why insult God by asking, “is baptism into the name of Jesus our Lord essential to salvation?” The very people who insist that it is not will inconsistently admit that it is essential to obedience. This is a distinction without a difference; for God gives the Holy Spirit to them that obey Him. Candidates for baptism should be instructed by the officiating minister why they are being baptized into the name of the Lord. If this were always done, as Paul did to the Ephesian converts, they would certainly receive a mighty baptism with the Spirit and speak with tongues and prophesy, as they did.
Back in 1914, when God revealed the apostolic order to the writer and made known that He was going to raise up a new order of ministry who would do things according to the apostolic pattern, he never preached about nonessentials or abnormalities. Christ was preached in such a way that the hearers would cry out like the Ethiopian eunuch under Philip’s preaching, “What doth hinder me to be baptized? (Acts 8:36). As many as gladly received the word were baptized: those who did not receive it, of course, were not baptized. In those days people were healed in the water and filled with the Holy Spirit in the water by the thousands. It was the nearest thing to the apostolic pattern we have yet seen. We must admit that this like precious faith is very rare in the religious world of today. Jesus, looking down the ages, asked “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” It is up to you and me to see that He will.
The Above Material Was Published In The Historical News, July-Sept. 1993, Vol. 12 No. 4, By Frank J. Ewart. This Material May Be Used For Study And Research Purposes Only.