Have I ever told you about my note cards? One of the few stories I repeat often in my teaching is the research I did about the names that God calls Christians in the New Testament. Years ago, I skimmed through all 27 books, from Matthew to Revelation, and wrote down all the positive names (child of God, bride of Christ, etc.) and all the negative names (wretched man, sinner, etc.). When the tally was complete, I counted 682 total names—70 were negative and 612 were positive! A 9 to 1 positive ratio! In fact, 15 of the books had 0 negative names for Christians (proving that Jesus is really good at his job)!
Those numbers can save you from two terrible places—pride and despair. Pride, the belief that you’re better than “those people,” makes you defensive, unforgiving, and extremely impatient with the sinners around you. Despair, the belief that you’re too bad to be loved by God, forgiven by God, or pleasing to God, will rip away the joy Jesus offers your soul. But these New Testament names can save you from both.
The writer to the Hebrews captures this so well: “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (10:14). We are still “being made holy,” still fighting against sin and needing forgiveness. Yet we are already “made perfect,” already secure as loved and cherished children of God.
That, brothers and sisters, is the biblical formula that can keep you humble and happy.