Do All in the Name of the Lord – Colossians 3:1-17
Colossians 3 tells us some of the ways we can live a life devoted to Christ. Paul first speaks generally about the things we must do, like setting our minds on things above, but as the chapter progresses, he gets more specific. He tells us things we shouldn’t do and then gives examples of what we should do instead.
Those of us who were baptized in Christ’s name, and have committed our lives to Christ, should understand that we are dead to the world. That commitment we made allows us to live, but it also demands a life devoted to Christ, a life that seeks what is beyond this earth. Paul calls us to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, Giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:1-4 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
It’s really important for us to understand here, that earth and its desires are different from heaven and God’s desires. Earth and its sinful desires will pass away, but heaven and God’s will live forever (1 John 2:17). So what are we putting our focus on as Christians?
In order to do everything in the name of our Lord Jesus, we must first separate our lives from earthly desires. The way we do this is by focusing on things that are above. This doesn’t mean that we need to literally become an aviator or an astronomer; it means that we should focus on spiritual desires and put everything else in our lives to death.
Colossians 3:5-11 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
“Put to death” is a strong statement. If we are unable to put our earthly desires to death, then God will cast us into darkness (Matthew 25:30). These earthly desires are sin, and Paul tries to paint the picture in black and white for us by listing some of the earthly desires we should be removing from our lives.
There is no difference between any person in this world. Whether you are the president of the United States, or a man living naked in the gutters of a city, Christ is all and is in all. Everyone will be judged, thus everyone needs to be killing what is earthly in themselves. Just because you are a high ruler doesn’t exempt you from God’s wrath.
We should all be striving to put these earthly desires in our lives to death, and in turn, we should be striving to put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of our creator, because God has chosen us.
Colossians 3:12-17 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 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.
Since we are God’s chosen ones, we should be putting on spiritual desires, in contrast to earthly desires. Paul again specifies to leave nothing up to the imagination.
Paul ends with love, and what’s interesting is that these spiritual desires given to us in Colossians 3 are all forms of love that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13. Love is one of the most important spiritual desires we have in our fight as Christians, because it brings harmony. In contrast, earthly desires lack love and focus on self.
We shouldn’t let the world’s thinking get into the way of our glorifying walk of life to God, or let it manipulate or pressure us into feeling awkward or weird, because we’re different for Christ. We have to separate our spiritual lives from the traditions of man and their regulations. If we don’t, we will be cast out into darkness. Not because he needs us to, but because we need it. We have committed into a relationship, a lifestyle that requires us to do everything, both private and public, in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.