Colossians 3:17 - 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
In these words Paul gives us a truth to be applied in, “whatever you do in word or deed.” Whatever you say and whatever you do, this is how to do it according to the inspired words of Paul. And how are we to say and do things? We are to govern what we say and what we do according to, “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
What does it mean to say and do “all in the name of the Lord Jesus”? In scripture we see the name of someone associated with the nature of that person. When Jacob wrestled with the Lord and submitted to His Lordship in his life, God gave him a new name. He went from Jacob the heal catcher to Israel governed by God. Names hold definitive purpose in scripture. God Himself reveals His nature through the various names He gives in scripture.
There are approximately 117 names in the Bible used to refer to Jesus. In the Old Testament some of the names Jesus is referred to are: The Seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15); “the Angel of the LORD” (Gen. 16:9-14; Judges 6:11-14); The Captain of the LORD’s Army (Joshua 5:4); the “Anointed” (Psalm 2:2); Child, Son, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6); Commander (Isaiah 55:4); Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16); Desire of nations (Haggai 2:7); the Branch (Zechariah 3:8); and Messiah (Daniel 9:25).
In the New Testament Jesus is referred to as: our Advocate (1 John 2:1); Almighty, Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8; 21:6), the Amen (Rev. 3:14); the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2); The Bread of Life (John 6:35); the Bridegroom (Matthew 9:15); Bright and Morning Star (Rev. 22:16); The Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4); Christ (Matthew 1:16; 2:4); Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20); Deliverer (Romans 11:26); the Door (John 10:7, 9); Emmanuel – God with us (Matthew 1:23); the Express Image of God (Hebrews 1:3); the Friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19); the Gift of God (2 Cor. 9:15); The Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14); The Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20); Head of the Church (Col. 1:18); Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2); High Priest (Hebrews 3:1; 7:1); Holy One of God (Mark 1:24); Jesus (Matthew 1:21); King of Israel (Matthew 27:42; John 1:49); Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36); Light of the World (John 9:5); Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16); Master (Mat. 8:19); Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5); our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7); Physician (Matthew 9:12); Potentate (1 Tim. 6:15); Power of God (1 Cor. 1:24); Prince (Acts 3:15; 5:31); Propitiation (1 John 2:2; 4:10); Ransom (1 Tim. 2:6); Resurrection and life (John 11:25); Sacrifice (Eph. 5:2); Savior (Luke 1:47; 2:11); Servant (Mark 10:45; cf. also Isaiah 42:1; 49:5-7); Son of God (Luke 1:35; Matthew 16:16); Son of Man (Matthew 18:11); Stone (Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Acts 4:11; Romans 9:32-33; Eph. 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6-7); Teacher (Matthew 26:18; John 3:2); True Vine (John 15:1); the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6); and the Word (John 1:1; Rev. 19:13).
A name defines who the named is. We learn various aspects of a person by how they are referred to. Therefore we learn about Jesus from how He chooses to name Himself. But what does it mean to say and do everything “in the name of the Lord Jesus”?
We see in the Bible that the followers of Jesus took on His name (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). To be called a “Christian” meant you identified yourself with Jesus as well as lived in service of Jesus. Paul is defining what it means to be a Christian when he tells the Colossians to say and do all that they do in the name of Jesus. This means primarily four things.
First, to talk and walk in the name of Jesus means to live holy and Christlike. It means whatever we say or do should be in line with, in agreement with that represented by the name of Jesus. When we think of the name of Jesus, when we think of Jesus, we think of love, sacrifice, redemption, servanthood, humility, and a host of other holy attributes. To say and do everything in the name of Jesus means to walk as He walked, follow in His steps, and be Christ’s representatives in all we do.
Second, to talk and walk in the name of Jesus means to rely on Jesus’ authority. When you sign a check you authorize the bank to pay out a certain amount of money from your account. Authority can be transferred to another. Pharaoh delegated his authority over Egypt to Joseph by giving him his authoritative signet ring (Gen. 41:38-42). Similarly, Jesus gives us the authority found in His name. He said if we pray for anything in His name we would receive it (John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23-26). This of course presupposes we seek for things in a holy Christlike way as mentioned above. There is power in the name of Jesus (Mark 9:39; 16:17).
Third, to talk and walk in the name of Jesus means to abide in His presence. Jesus said where two or three gather in His name, He would be there (Matthew 18:20). When we talk or walk in the name of Jesus we do so in His presence. Jesus spoke about receiving little ones in His name and that to do so was “to receive Me” Matthew 18:5; Mark 9:37, 39; Luke 9:48). To talk and walk in Jesus’s name means all service for Jesus should be done in the presence of Jesus.
Fourth, to talk and walk in the name of Jesus means to live thankfully. Paul states, “giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Jesus instructed His disciples to pray to “our Father in heaven” (Mathew 6:9). And as we have seen in the above second point Jesus instructed us to pray in His name. Paul says we are to give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. We are to thank God the Father for His Son, salvation and eternal life that comes as a gift of His grace through faith in Jesus His Son. We are to ever be thankful for all God has done for us in Christ. We witness, serve, forgive, and grow in our relationship with God all through Christ and with a thankful heart for this gracious provision of God in Christ. In other words, we don’t live out the Christian life by a sense of duty; we live the Christian life out of a sense of thanksgiving. Our Christian life should be our love offering to the Lord. We are to live with thankful hearts toward God.
Warren Wiersbe writes: “All that we say and do should be associated with the name of Jesus Christ. By our words and our works, we should glorify His name. If we permit anything into our lives that cannot be associated with the name of Jesus, then we are sinning. We must do and say everything on the authority of His name and for the honor of His name.” Apply Jesus name in all you say and do.