"Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus."

Col. 3:17.

H. H. Snell.

Christian Friend, vol. 13, 1886, p. 97.

It is certainly important, when meditating on any portion of the word of God, to trace its connections, in order to apprehend the meaning intended in the passage by the Holy Spirit. For instance, looking at this verse alone, it would appear to set before us a hard task, which after all may be but feebly accomplished by us, and thus turn the mind in upon itself, and bring us into a legal state. On the other hand, to be occupied only with the grace side of divine teaching, most blessed as it is, to the neglect of preceptive truth, will generally be connected with a low and careless walk. In our Lord Himself, the perfect One, grace and truth were always fully manifested and perfectly acted out. He was "full of grace and truth." A considerable part of this epistle to the saints at Colosse was written before this precept was given. In the portion which precedes it, blessed truth had been set forth to engage the believer, and to cheer and exercise his heart before God. Let us briefly look at a few points.

In the first chapter, those who had faith in our Lord Jesus and love to all saints, the two marks of genuine conversion, were enjoined to be "giving thanks unto the Father, who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light," who has delivered, translated, redeemed us, etc. Being now children of God, knowing God as their Father, they were to approach Him as His children, and give thanks to Him for having made them fit for glory; to praise Him for "redemption," for having "delivered" them from the power of darkness, "translated" them into the kingdom of the Son of His love, and made them meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. What holy liberty is found here! What an unending source of joy! Objects of the Father's love, the costly work of eternal redemption wrought by the only begotten Son, and brought into such new and endearing relationships, they were to know that the Father loves them as He loves His Son. How fruitful in blessing to our souls to be thus consciously set by divine grace, divine righteousness, and divine power on the ground of never-ending thanksgiving before God our Father! Is it then our habit thus to be before God? Because, if we have not accepted and made our own by faith the instruction of the first chapter, how can we possibly carry out the precepts of the third chapter? How can we walk as God's children unless we know we are His children? And how can we be giving thanks to the Father for our new position, relationships, security, and meetness for glory, unless we have received as from the mouth of God His own precious and infallible word as to these things? When everything else is discarded as authoritative but the word of God, and faith is mixed with it, as giving us divine certainty, then we prove the fulfilment of our Saviour's words, "The truth shall make you free."

Again, in the beginning of the third chapter, the apostle teaches these young believers that they are "risen with Christ." Now what do we understand by this? Is it not that, having been quickened and associated in life with Christ, who is here spoken of as "our Life," we have the life of One who is risen from among the dead?* Is it not thus a new and an eternal life, the free gift of God to us in our Lord Jesus Christ? Not, surely, a prolongation or an improvement of natural life, but a new and risen life, which is totally outside the old creation. Jesus said, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" (John 12:24); that is, that blessing to others in living association with Himself must follow His death, for until that He was "alone." Thus we are plainly taught that, though He was that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested unto us, He was alone till after His death, even as the grains in the ear are the result of the corn having fallen into the ground and died. So Christ, as He now is risen from among the dead, is our Life; for "God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son," so that believers are "risen with Christ." Happy are those who have accepted in simple faith this revelation of divine; grace! To such it becomes easy and natural to have their minds set on things above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." It calls for no effort; for being set thus in association with Christ for ever by God, who raised Him up from among the dead, and assured too that when Christ, who is our Life, is manifested in glory we shall be manifested with Him, our minds and hearts are attracted by such love and blessedness to where He, our Life, now is. The important question, therefore, for each of us is, Have I accepted as God's truth such wondrous blessing, and thus made it my own for present enjoyment? What a precious thing for the soul to know, on the authority of the word of God, and entirely of His own free grace and power, that I am connected with Christ in resurrection life, and, we may add, for ever united to Him where He is by the gift and indwelling of the Holy Spirit!

*This is important, and the reader will not fail to perceive that this truth follows upon our being dead with Christ (Col. 2:20), so that, as another has said, "we are viewed, not merely as quickened by the Son, but as dead and risen with Christ, the Man who had died, so as to have passed out of - put off - the old standing of a child of Adam, and into a risen one with Christ - put on the new man." - E.D.

In the second chapter, another view is presented to us of the present blessing into which the believer, through grace, has been brought. In the ninth verse the glory of the person of the ascended Saviour is presented to us as Man, in whom all the fulness of the Godhead bodily dwells - man surely glorified and sitting on the Father's throne, yet verily and truly divine in the absolute sense, the very "fulness of the Godhead," yet one glorious person who is spoken of as "Him," and that He as to His exaltation is "the head of all principality and power." And marvellous as it is, we are told that, as redeemed ones, our present place before God, given us by His grace, is filled full, or "complete in Him." Observe, it is what we are, not in ourselves, but "in Him." As another has said, "The fulness or completeness of the Godhead is in Christ, as toward us; and we, as toward God, are complete in Him." Into what an amazing position of blessing the grace and power of God have thus brought us, as true of us now, in all the acceptability and nearness of Christ - filled full in Him who is sitting on the Father's throne, angels, authorities, and powers being subjected to Him. Let us ponder this heavenly position and blessedness well, and instead of. reasoning about it, and missing its everlasting consolation, receive it with faith, and enjoy this present nearness and blessing God has given us. Does the Word say you shall be, or you may hope to be, filled full? Nay; it says, "Ye care complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power." And so true to faith is this new place before God in Christ risen and ascended, that before our verse occurs the believer is spoken of as having put off the old man with his deeds, and having put on the new; that is, the old man (not the sins, but sin, or the old nature that bore the corrupt fruit), having been substitutionally and judicially put off in the death of Christ, when we died with Christ, and God having, as we have seen, given us a new place through the resurrection of Christ, and a new nature, or life in Christ, we cannot be other than in Him who is our life. Hence it is said, "Ye are complete in Him," and faith takes it, and knows no other life or position; therefore we are spoken of as having put off the old man and put on the new.

But the point of such moment at this time is, Have we received these precious truths into our hearts in faith as divinely-given communications for our present comfort and profit? It is one thing for the reader to be so struck with them as to admire them, but it is a totally different thing to receive them without any hesitation and have the certainty that these blessings are ours now. Almost everything around is being shaken, and questions on every hand are being raised as to the divine and eternal verity of Holy Scripture, so that multitudes of professing Christians are indulging misgivings, and having almost endless disputes, when, if the word of God were simply bowed to, there would be certainty and rest. Unless one has the assurance founded on the work of Christ, and confirmed by the unalterable Word, that he is a child of God, how can he be giving thanks to the Father, and walk as a child of God? And unless he has to do with the Lord Jesus Christ on the right hand of God, as the One in and through whom he has redemption, and in whom he is filled full, how can He so be the central object of his thoughts and affections as to say and do all in His name? We hold it to be simply impossible. But being consciously before God as His child, filled full in Him who is seated on His own right hand, He in us our life and we risen with Him, who has redeemed, delivered, and translated us, and who is made unto us righteousness, it becomes quite intelligible that those who are thus abiding in the cloudless favour of God will be giving thanks to the Father, the source of all, be having their minds set on things above, where Christ sitteth, in whom and through whom they have all, and happily fall in with the suited exhortation, "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him." What we cannot truly associate the name of our Lord Jesus with must therefore be avoided.

Let none of us imagine, that because we see the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to be the only scriptural centre of being gathered together, we are therefore out to Him. When He is really the central object of our hearts, how can we desire otherwise, as constrained by His love, than to do all in His name? Is it not our chief joy that He should be magnified? And will not "giving thanks" accompany such service? For how can we be taken up with Him, without praise and thanksgiving going up from our hearts "to God the Father by Him "? May the Lord keep us, and be our constant helper. H. H. S.