Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
There were fifty-six signers to the United States Declaration of Independence. Their signatures on this historic document indicated their intent to act on behalf of the American colonies. The last paragraph contains these lines:
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America,in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.
The signatures of the Founding Fathers of the United States indicated that their actions and words were being executed in the name of and on behalf of the American colonists. A new nation was formed and the world was changed.
Paul’s statement here is not some lofty, abstract theory, but a summary statement of the previous verses, where he depicts how the transformative power of Christ works itself out in one’s everyday interactions. This ethic of what it is to characterize life in Christ includes compassion, love, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (3:12–14). For the Christian, such living is rooted in and flows out of the reality of what God has done at the core of our very being and humanity: We have been “raised up with Christ” (3:1); we have a “new self which is being renewed in the image of the Creator” (3:10); we are his chosen ones, holy and beloved (3:12).
To speak and act on behalf of another is a privilege and a responsibility. God has put his signature on his people—indicating his will and intent that our words and deeds be done on his behalf in the places he sends us.
PONDER: Imagine something to say or do today, on behalf of Christ, that might make a difference for someone.
REFLECTION or DISCUSSION:
In the letter to the Colossians Paul says that everything believers do should be done to represent Jesus. This idea of representation still holds true for us today. When others who know we are followers of Jesus see us, do they see a picture of God?
Read Colossians 3:17. Do your friends know that you have a relationship with Jesus? Part of having a relationship with Jesus is the Fruit of the Spirit. Read Galatians 5:22-23. Which of these fruit do you show in your life? Which fruit do you need to have more of?