I understand it is relatively cheap to go to court and change one*s name. I have known a few individuals who have done that. Changing one*s name does not change the essence of the person. We have all heard of people who have face lifts, tummy tucks and various other surgeries trying to improve their appearance. Those things can boost one*s self-image at but don*t really change the essence of the person.
In the Bible God changed the names of several individuals. Several others have gone by two different names with no evidence that God gave them their new name. Frequently the names of people in the Bible were descriptive of what they did, their characteristics or whose son they were. The interesting thing is that when God changed someone*s name, He also changed the essence of the person along with it.
Abram was renamed Abraham. Jacob was renamed Israel. Gideon was called Jerubaal. Simon was named Peter. Saul was renamed Paul. These individuals were given new names that had different meanings and descriptions. Some individual*s names were given to them by God before they were born. Their names bore God*s description of them or His purpose for their life.
Abram meant high father. Abraham meant father of a multitude. Abraham is also known as the father of faith. He had no children until he was 85 years old. Introducing himself as the father of a multitude demonstrated that he had great faith in the promise of God that he would be the father of a multitude, especially since he was still childless.
Gideon meant one who cuts down. Jerubbaal meant let Baal plead.
Gideon cut down an idol. When the idolaters asked Gideon*s father to punish him his father told them to let Baal do it. That was a wise way to avoid punishing Gideon since the idol Baal had no power to do anything.
Jacob meant adversary or supplanter. Israel meant who prevails with God or Prince with God. Jacob lived his early life as a sneak and a conniver. After God brought him into a relationship with Himself he was greatly changed. His testimony late in his life confirms his great faith in God.
Genesis 48:15: And he (Israel) blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,
Simon meant a hearkening. Peter meant a rock. Simon did hear Christ and came to faith in Him.
Matthew 16:16: And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
We would do no harm to scripture if we called Peter after he came to faith in Christ a rock who listened. He became a faithful and powerful part of the body of Christ, the church..
Saul meant asked for. Paul meant little. Perhaps Paul was small of stature or perhaps God called him little to remind him of his weakness and keep him humble before God. He somehow learned that his own weakness was instrumental in the productivity of God*s strength.
2 Corinthians 12:9: And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Saul the persecutor of Christians became Paul the Apostle.
If you have received Christ you have had a name change. Your name has become Christian. If you have received Christ God has given you a new essence, a new existence. He has given you eternal life. The word eternal only speaks of the duration of that life. That life also has a different texture to it. It is the life of God flowing through you. That life is in Christ.