“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” (Colossians 3:17).
Having just completed a discussion of the public worship of the church, the Apostle Paul broadens his scope in giving this instruction: he says not only in worship but in all aspects of living the Christian life, the Colossians should be mindful of the name or the authority of Jesus.
It is because of His power and His authority that spiritual activities here have any meaning to the Father in heaven—that is, it is because of Jesus that our adherence to God’s word counts toward our eternal inheritance. And we should be filled with thankfulness for this wonderful spiritual benefit.
Paul was leading the Colossians against false teachers who wanted to equate other beings with Jesus. Even though we may not be in the same position as the Colossians in this regard, we benefit greatly from this admonition. Every word and every deed should be guided by the authority of Jesus.
“And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16).
Having established throughout the epistle the blessings of being in Christ, the Apostle Paul teaches in this section the equality of everyone who has taken advantage of those blessings.
“This rule” refers to the standard God has established in His word. Specifically, it is the fact that all who obey Christ and come into Him are a “new creation,” no longer restricted by circumcision nor uncircumcision—all are now one in Him.
All of these obedient believers, living under the New Covenant, are the ones who have peace with God and receive the benefit of His abundant mercy.
Since they are in Christ, they are the Israel of God, referring to a fact Paul establishes in chapter three, verse twenty-nine: “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” And all of us today who are in Christ are included in this group.
“Therefore you shall keep the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them” (Deuteronomy 7:11).
The people have just been reminded that God has not selected them as His chosen people because they have great numbers but just because He loves them and He has promised their fathers He would take care of them.
Consequently, they must recognize that He is their faithful God—the one who will never fail them in honoring His covenant with them. But in this verse, He reminds them that this covenant does not come without a condition: they must reciprocate by keeping His commandments.
While we are not under the authority of the Old Testament for our lives today, it contains much enriching information about God and His expectations of His followers: in every Age, He has expected them to observe His commandments.
This expectation is no different in the Christian Age. God has extended His love and mercy to us abundantly and He has made indescribable eternal provisions for us. But, these provisions are not without expectations that in no way diminish His love: He has instructed repeatedly that we keep His commandments.
“For the leaders of this people cause them to err, And those who are led by them are destroyed” (Isaiah 9:16).
Israel and Judah are split at this point in their history, but both are in error because they have allowed their leaders to lead them into idolatry. Israel has become especially corrupt and is in opposition to the house of David.
But, through the prophet, God makes it clear that neither nation is excused because they have corrupt leaders: the people themselves bear personal responsibility for their sins and they will be destroyed.
The lesson could not be clearer: each person is responsible to God for himself, regardless of who is leading or who is trying to influence us. The New Testament bears out this principle. If our leaders or our fellow Christians begin to stray from scriptural teaching, we must always stand upon a “Thus saith the Lord” if we want to maintain a relationship with God.