And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the LORD Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.


I have to be faithful to what I know to be true, so I must tell you that if you will not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him on one day a week! There is no such thing in heaven as Sunday worship unless it is accompanied by Monday worship and Tuesday worship and right on through the rest of the week.

Too many of us try to discharge our obligations to God Almighty in one day—usually one trip to church. Sometimes, nobly, we make it two trips to church, but it is all on the same day when we have nothing else to do and that is supposed to be worship!

I do not say that you must be at church all of the time—how could you be? I am saying that you can worship God at your desk, on an elevated train, or driving in traffic. You can worship God in school, on the basketball court. You can worship God in whatever is legitimate and right and good.

Surely, we can go to church and worship on one day, but it is not true worship unless it is followed by continuing worship in the days that follow. We cannot pray toward the east and walk toward the west and hope for harmony in our beings! You can name the name of Jesus a thousand times, but if you will not follow the nature of Jesus, the name of Jesus will not mean anything to you!

See to it that there is not an hour or a place or an act or a location that is not consecrated and given over to God. You will be worshipping Him—and He will accept it![1]

3:17 Verse 17 is an all-inclusive rule by which to judge our conduct as Christians. Young people today especially have a difficult time deciding whether certain things are right or wrong. This verse, committed to memory, can prove to be the key for unlocking many of these problems. The great test should be: Can I do this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? Would this be to His glory? Could I expect His blessing to rest on it? Would I want to be doing it when He comes back again? Notice that this test should apply to the words we speak and to the deeds we do. Obedience to this command ennobles all of life. It is a precious secret when the Christian learns to do all as to the Lord and for His glory. Once again the apostle adds the word, “Giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Thanks! Thanks! Thanks! It is a perpetual duty for those saved by grace and destined for the courts of heaven.[2]

17. A fundamental principle for Christian life and conduct summarizes and climaxes this priceless paragraph, namely, And whatever you do in word or in deed, (do) all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

For the expression “Whatever you do” see also verse 23 and 1 Cor. 10:31. In connection with “Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” it should be noted that the name indicates the Lord Jesus himself as he has revealed himself. “In the name” means, accordingly, “in vital relation with him,” that is, in harmony with his revealed will, in subjection to his authority, in dependence on his power. The clause “giving thanks to God the Father through him” (in connection with which see especially Eph. 5:20; then also John 14:6; 15:5b; Rom. 1:8; 7:25; 16:27; 1 Cor. 1:20) is explained by the fact that it is on the basis of the Son’s atonement that sinners are accepted by the Father, and that they (“together with him”) receive every blessing. Hence, it is altogether just and fair that through him thanksgiving be given to the Father.

The main lessons of this closing paragraph should not escape us. As I see it they are the following:

(1) “Whatever you do” is very general. In contrast with the many specific rules and regulations which false teachers were trying to impose upon the Colossians (Col. 2:16–23), Paul simply enunciates a comprehensive principle, and permits believers to work it out for themselves in perfect freedom. After all, the child of God of the new dispensation is not under bondage. Let the Spirit within him rule him.

(2) This Spirit (hence also the Spirit-indwelt believer) operates in connection with the word, that is, the revelation (“name”) of the Lord Jesus. Man is “free” only when he abides in Christ. Let him therefore always ask himself, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10). Let him diligently and prayerfully study Scripture. It is in that sense that (1) above is to be understood.

(3) In connection with any and every word and deed the believer should ask himself, “Am I able to thank God the Father for having given me the opportunity to say or do this?” (Cf. Bruce, op. cit., p. 286).

(4) The sovereignty or pre-eminence of the Lord Jesus in relation to the entire universe with all its events and in relation to the believer himself should be joyfully acknowledged. Therefore, too, he should do everything “in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

We notice, therefore, that the present paragraph closes as did also the preceding one (see on 3:11), with a reminder of the theme of the entire epistle, Christ, the Pre-eminent One, the Only and All-Sufficient Savior.[3]

The Name of Christ

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (3:17)

The simplest, most basic rule of thumb for living the Christian life is to do everything, whether word or deed, in the name of the Lord Jesus. To do everything in the name of Jesus is to act consistently with who He is and what He wants. Paul expressed the same thought in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Again, Paul reminds that it is always to be done without reluctance or despair or legalistic duty, but with giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

To put on the new lifestyle is to put on Christ. That is the obligation of every believer: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Rom. 13:14). The goal of the Christian life is Christlikeness.

Guy H. King relates the following story:

Years ago I was leading the Children’s Special Service Mission at one of our South Coast holiday resorts. As I was approaching the beach one morning, this little fellow was going along there, too. As he caught sight of me, he said, “Mummie, here comes the JESUS man.” He only meant that I was the man who spoke to the children about the Savior; but his remark meant far more to my heart that day. What right had I—have I—to be called a JESUS man? What degree of resemblance is there about us?

I wonder if you have read that moving story of Jerome K. Jerome’s called The Passing of the Third Floor Back? Roughly, the tale is of a poor class lodging house, where lived a heterogeneous company of needy and seedy folk, and where there was a poor, ignorant little servant girl, a good deal of a slut, and ready to sell her virtue for a worthless trinket. Into the place there came one day a lodger who at once seemed to be different, and who occupied the third floor back. He quickly revealed himself to have a very kind heart and way. He always had a kindly word for the little slavery, usually so ignored and downtrodden. She almost worshipped him. The other lodgers, too, owed him much for his many deeds of helpfulness. He was always doing something for somebody, in his kindly, sympathetic way. At last the day came for him to move elsewhere. The little maid watched him, open-eyed, as he walked with his bit of luggage to the front door; and as he turned to her with a smile and a gentle pat on the shoulder, she took her leave of him with the words, “Please, are you ’I’m?” (Crossing the Border [Fort Washington, Pa.: Christian Literature Crusade, 1974], pp. 92–93)

Believers should so clothe themselves with Jesus Christ that when people look at them, they see Christ.[4]

17 In addition to allowing the peace of Christ to rule and the word of Christ to dwell in their hearts (3:15–16), the Colossians are to conduct their lives “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (cf. 2:6). In essence, Paul calls the assembly to worship Christ and to submit to his lordship with their lives as well as with their lips, with their works as well as with their words, in the church as well as outside of it (cf. 4:5). Worship cannot be confined to teaching, admonishing, and singing (3:16); it must be correlated with the yielding of one’s entire being to God (cf. Ro 12:1). As Paul puts it to the Corinthians, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Co 10:31).

In concluding this section, Paul once again issues a call to be grateful to God (see 3:15–16; cf. Eph 5:20; 1 Th 5:18). Here one’s giving thanks to God, who is further depicted as Father (cf. 1:2–3, 12), is linked to the Lord Jesus. “For Christ is the Lord who provides the basis and sets the goal for the life of believers” (Lohse, 153). If God’s grace in Christ is at the center of Paul’s theology, human gratitude to God because of Christ is at the core of his ethics (cf. Bruce, 138). For Paul, ethics impinges on the whole of the Christian life, including, as the next section illustrates, one’s life in the home.[5]

[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 2012–2013). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Colossians and Philemon (Vol. 6, pp. 163–164). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1992). Colossians (p. 159). Chicago: Moody Press.

[5] Still, T. D. (2006). Colossians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 334–335). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s