God’s Word for You
Colossians 3:17 do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Sunday, August 11, 2019
17 And all that you do, whatever it is, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
If I do something in my own name, seeking credit for myself and building myself up or glorifying myself, then what I do might have a use, and it might have value, but it has no good in it. God might work through it, but not for the purpose I had in doing it. But if I do a thing, anything at all, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, then it is good, whatever it is.
Luther said, “The work of a Christian has no special name, season, or place, but what they do—that is good; and when they do it—it is well. Therefore St. Paul here names no special work, makes no distinction, but takes all together, and makes all good: eating, drinking, sleeping, waking, going, staying, speaking, silence, work, and rest. All are alike precious if in the name of the Lord Jesus. We go in the name of the Lord Jesus when we hold in firm faith that Christ is in us, and we are in him; therefore we rest, and he works in us.” And Paul says: “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).
This is just what Paul also said at the beginning of this chapter: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3). When we set our minds on Christ, and do whatever we do to his glory and in his name, then we conform effortlessly to the attitude of the Scriptures: “I am a stranger on earth” (Psalm 119:18), and “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
It should go without saying that Paul means all things (πᾶν) except sinning. We do not sin intentionally or “in the name of Jesus,” and it would monstrous to commit a sin in Jesus’ name, as if he could bless our idolatry, adultery, covetousness, etc. A thief does not say a benediction as he steals. And an adulterous, polygamous, incestuous or gay couple should not ask the Lord’s blessing if they marry. Does that somehow remove all Christians from ever expecting God’s blessing, since we sin constantly? No! We live by faith in Christ’s forgiveness. “The ordinary life of the righteous is nothing except pure good works, for Christ does not leave a single hoof of his sheep in Egypt” (Luther, LW 32). By this, Luther means that not one Christian soul remains behind in his sin; we are also rescued by the salvation we have through the cross. To reject the idea of salvation by renaming a sin as a good work is another matter. But for all of us who are repentant Christians, there is full salvation, and our whole lives are cleansed by Jesus, made into good works to the glory of God.
Pastor Timothy Smith