The Biblical writer of the book of Jude encouraged his readers to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” But, as I look around the landscape of Christendom today, I can’t help but wonder if what much of what is being passed off as faith actually faith at all. It seems to me that many today are confusing faith with magic! Let me show you what I’m talking about: Today, there seems to be a pervasive misunderstanding and misapplication of the name of Jesus. People do anything or say anything and then claim they are saying or doing it in the name of Jesus. But it’s really not in the name of Jesus just because we say it or do it and then utter the words: “In the name of Jesus.” Saying the words: “In the name of Jesus” is not some magical formula like: “Open-says-a-me” or “Abra-ca-dab-bra.” To say or do anything in the name of Jesus is to say or do whatever is consistent with the character and actions of Jesus as revealed in the Bible. In other words, we can only say or do in the name of Jesus that which Jesus would have said or done himself. Therefore, we can’t steal, lie or kill in the name of Jesus because those things are inconsistent with the character and actions of Jesus.
The Bible say that we (believers) have been authorized to use his name in a fashion that is similar to what is known as the power of attorney. If you have been given the power of attorney, that means you have been legally authorized to act, speak or transact business on behalf of the person who gave you the power of attorney. Therefore, in exercising the power of attorney given to you, whatever business you transact on that person’s behalf, the law looks at that transaction as if the person actually did it themselves. In like manner, whatever we do or say in the name of Jesus, it is as if Jesus is doing it himself. But to do or say something inconsistent with the character and actions of Jesus and claim to be doing or saying it in his name is not an exercise of faith; it is an exercise of the futile use of magic!
To pray for something that is inconsistent with God’s will, saying the words; in the name of Jesus, is not an exercise of faith; it is an attempt to use magic! Now, the reason so many people are attempting to use magic rather than faith is because many actually have faith in faith instead of having faith in God! It is not enough to “just have faith.” The faith we have must be grounded in the truth of God’s word! We can have the faith; but is it God’s will? It could be God’s will; but do we really have faith? And what is the motivation for our request of healing or blessing or anything we ask of God? Is it merely for our comfort? Or is it for His glory?
Now this was by no means an attempt to analyze this question in a deep exegetical manner, just a few thoughts to help us to stop and really think about what we say and do on a consistent basis; “in the name of Jesus.” The question is: Is it faith or is it magic?