Where the supernatural reality of religious formula trumps religious philosophy
There is a lot to be said for religious philosophy in Christianity, particularly when it is based on a sure understanding of the Scripture. Understanding how the world works in its normal capacities, helps deal with everyday problems and sometimes with personal or nation wide crises.
It gives us a platform to build our principles of daily living on and can help us develop strength of character, necessary attributes in a world which often presents itself to us as random chaos. It helps us in coffee house conversations to clarify and define our thinking against counter philosophies which we come up against daily.
But that is not what the name of Jesus is all about. The name of Jesus, though couched in a religious formula, gives us access to a supernatural reality in the natural world. Exercised by faith in a savior who delivered Himself up to be crucified and then physically walked out of his tomb, and in accordance to his sovereign will, it has the power reverse the natural laws of entropy which surround and govern us.
These reversals are generally temporary it’s true. And our faith shouldn’t rest upon them or demand them nor they are not required or part of salvation. A faith in the physical death and resurrection of Jesus and in the fullness of his deity is all that is required for salvation.
Yet the Lord himself did say, “ If you ask Me anything in my name, I will do it.” (Jn 14:14) And, John 16:23, which reads, “ Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” These are formulaic, but that didn’t stop the apostles and early disciples from using them time and again to seek and receive supernatural help in healing the sick and raising the dead or in dealing with supernatural manifestations of powers of darkness.
Peter in healing the paralytic in Acts ch. 3, uttered those bold words,
“Silver and gold I have none, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
The apostles then went out of their way to assure people that it wasn’t their own power or piety that had healed the man, but that, “faith in his name”, the name of Jesus, (Acts 3:12-16) had been the grounds of the healing. It was in the context of this history in Acts 3 that Peter declared to his Jewish brethren that,
“Jesus is the stone that was rejected…and there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
We need to be careful that in rejecting the formulas of men, that we don’t reject the biblical formulas of our forefathers in the faith, those early disciples. Nor should we allow ourselves be driven away from or become cynical of the supernatural aspects of the faith, simply because some men and denominations have taken them out of context and made them into a sham.
Let’s not be driven away by the vanity of men or the philosophies of men, from making our appeals to heaven in the most powerful name given on earth, as hated as it may be on this side of glory.