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.
Johann Sabastian Bach would often include the letters INDNJC at the bottom of his musical scores. It was an abbreviation for the Latin words, In Nomine Domini Nostri Jesu Christi—In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Given the musical genius, beauty, and grandeur of his work that certainly seems like an appropriate way to finish off one of his famous symphonies.
I wonder how often we could do the same with our words and deeds?
When you are unpacking a passage of Scripture, it often brings additional clarity to find out the meaning of some of the main words in the original language. In this case, the Greek word for “whatever” is pas…and it means whatever or all. Were you hoping for something less…severe? Some kind of division between regular Christian activities and everything else? This passage offers us no such shelter. Paul is putting the entirety of our existence into the spotlight.
ALL words. ALL deeds. WHATEVER.
The Scottish theologian John Eadie writes, “…the apostle’s idea is, that while some things are done formally in the name of the Lord Jesus, everything should be done really in it.” In all our speech and conduct (your lips and your life), Paul is saying to do it as if in the presence and power and name of Jesus and for the glory of His Father in Heaven. In practical terms, can you declare “In Jesus’ Name” during every activity of yours during the day? Can you finish every sentence you utter in the same way?
Watching porn…in Jesus’ name.
Being lazy…in Jesus’ name.
Cutting corners…in Jesus’ name.
“You are such an idiot! …in Jesus’ name.
“How could you be so dumb!”…in Jesus’ name.
“Do it yourself!”…in Jesus’ name.
Spurgeon adds, “Do not draw any line of demarcation, and say, ‘So far is secular, and so far is religious.’ Let your whole life be religious; and if there is anything proposed to you, in which you cannot glorify God, do not touch it.” The implications of this passage are so profound and so far-reaching…perhaps that is why it is so difficult to wrestle with. I don’t know how many words and deeds I choose on a daily basis that violate this axiom…but it’s more than a few.
Yes, in this broken world and condition this passage presents us with what appears to be an impossible standard (it isn’t through the power of the Holy Spirit), but it should also remind us of just how great a Savior we have. While we were yet sinners—and still adding to our wrap-sheet today—Christ died for us! Our daily violations of this “Jesus’ name” axiom are fully known to the Lord, yet we are still fully loved. This is at the heart of the Gospel.