From the Word
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:16–17, RSV
The works of Christians are not circumscribed by name, time, or place. Whatever Christians do is good; whenever done it is timely; wherever wrought it is appropriate. So Paul names no work. He makes no distinction, but concludes all works to be good, whether it be eating or drinking, speaking or keeping silence, waking or sleeping, going or staying, being idle or otherwise. All acts are eminently worthy because done in the name of the Lord Jesus. Such is Paul’s teaching here. And our works are wrought in the name of the Lord Jesus when we by faith hold fast the fact that Christ is in us and we in him, in the sense that we no longer labor, but he lives and works in us.
The expression “in the name of God” or “Lord Jesus” is frequently uttered falsely and in sheer hypocrisy. Teachers of false doctrine habitually offer their commodities in the name of God. They even come in the name of Christ, as he himself foretells. To speak and work sincerely and earnestly in Jesus’ name, the heart must necessarily accord with the utterance of the mouth. As the lips declare in the name of God, so must the heart confidently, with firm faith, hold that God directs and performs the work. No Christian should undertake to do any deed in his own ability and directed by his own judgment. Rather let him be assured that God works with him and through him.
Such an attitude will result in praise and thanks to God as one to whom are due all honor and praise for every good thing. Thus Paul teaches and also Peter. Immediately after declaring that we are to work according to the ability which God gives, Peter adds that “in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” He who undertakes anything in his own ability, however much he may glorify God with his lips, lies and deceives. Thankfulness is the only duty we can perform unto God; and this is not to be rendered of ourselves, but through our Mediator, Jesus. Without him none can come to the Father and none will be accepted.
Luther, Martin, and John Sander. Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year. Augustana Book Concern, 1915, pp. 53–54.
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