For the Sake of His Name
Go to the world for the sake of His name;
To every nation His glory proclaim.
Pray that the Spirit wise
Will open darkened eyes,
Granting new life to display Jesus’ fame.
In Jesus’ power, preach Christ to the lost;
For Jesus’ glory, count all else but loss.
Gather from every place
Trophies of sov’reign grace.
Lest life be wasted, exalt Jesus’ cross.
Love the unloved for the sake of His name;
Like Christ, befriend those whose heads hang in shame.
Jesus did not condemn,
But was condemned for them.
Trust gospel pow’r, for we once were the same.
Rescue the lost for the sake of His name;
As Christ commands, snatch them out of the flame.
Tell that when Jesus died
God’s wrath was satisfied.
Urge them to flee to the Lamb who was slain.
Look to the Throne for the sake of His name;
Think of the throng who will share in His reign.
Some for whose souls we pray
Will share our joy that day,
Joining our song for the sake of His name!
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Because God delights in worship that is biblical, thoughtful and passionate—what we often call intentional—please consider the following overview of the biblical texts and doctrinal themes behind the hymn For the Sake of His Name:
This hymn, written in honor of the 10th Anniversary of the Student Global Impact National Conference in 2010, focuses on a Christ-centered, doxological (or God-glorifying) motivation for world evangelization—a concept which is thoroughly Scriptural and which John Piper’s book Let the Nations Be Glad and Dave Doran’s book For the Sake of His Name have especially helped me appreciate. We are certainly motivated to evangelism and missions by the needs of the lost (as verse 3 communicates), but our greatest desire is that the name of our Savior be glorified. Thus we go out, as 3 John 7 says, “for the sake of the name”—the matchless name of Jesus Christ!
Verse 1 immediately begins the “Go” emphasis of the hymn, which contains many imperatives we hope will stir the hearts of believers for the Great Commission. It alludes to the doxological evangelism theme of Psalm 96:3, “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” It follows the command to speak of Christ with the essential and complimentary command to pray for the Holy Spirit to open blind eyes (2 Cor 4:1-6), noting that conversion and the granting of spiritual life is a supernatural work which God alone can accomplish. When He does, He alone gains great glory (Eph 1:6, 12, 14).
The refrain focuses attention on the centrality of Jesus Christ in the work of missions. We preach in His power, not our own (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:18). We live and minister for His glory, not ourselves (Phil 1:20-21). We thus go over all the world, seeking converts who by their redemption will be trophies of God’s grace (Eph 1:12), investing our lives in the cause of Christ rather than wasting them in vain pursuits.
Verse 2 draws attention to Christ’s frequent engagement of the unloved and ashamed—be they lepers and cripples or sinners and publicans (Luke 7:34; 15:1-2). As my missionary friend Ben often comments, Jesus took time to “learn the story behind the face” and to draw hurting, ashamed sinners to himself. Compassionate engagement of sinners and God’s glory are inseparable, as John 4 indicates: Christ ministered grace to a notoriously immoral woman—specifically because God is looking for (and creating!) worshipers (John 4:23). Jesus didn’t condemn sinners (John 3:17; 8:11)—not merely because He was gracious, but because He would be condemned by God in their place (2 Cor 5:21; Rom 3:24-26). Such evangelistic and compassionate ministry is a recognition that we, too, were once without hope and without Christ, and that the gospel is powerful to bring about miraculous change (Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 6:9-11).
Verse 3 recognizes that part of our God-honoring motivation for missions is the desire to save the lost from eternal damnation, “snatching them out of the fire” (Jude 23). Again, the hope of the wicked is not merely God’s kindness, but Christ’s satisfaction of God’s wrath at Calvary (1 John 2:1-2). Their hope for life, then, is the death of the Lamb of God to remove their sin (John 1:29).
Verse 4 anticipates the praise of the redeemed around Christ’s throne as a motivation for evangelism, specifically because people from “every tribe and language and people and nation” will be present on that great day (Rev 5:6-10). What an amazing thought: some to whom we minister and for whom we pray will be fellow-worshipers with us. Thus, as we go out to the world for the sake of Jesus’ name, those whom we reach will capture that same passion, delighting in the glory of our Savior.
Thus, in missions as in all else, we live for the glory of God (Psalm 115:1). Soli Deo Gloria!
(The notes for For the Sake of His Name were written by Chris Anderson.)