The Bond Of Perfection
I. PUT ON THE GRACES OF FORBEARANCE (vv. 12-13).
II. PUT ON THE BOND OF PERFECTION – GODLY LOVE (v. 14).
III. THE RESULTS OF THE PUTTING ON GODLY LOVE (vv. 15-16).
IV. DOING ALL FOR HIS NAME AND BEING THANKFUL (v. 17).
We have looked at the idea of “Put off” and “Put on” previously (vv. 8-10), and it tells us quite clearly what we are to be shed of concerning Christian living. These are not to be the normal ‘Clothing’ of the believer/follower of Jesus.
The putting off of those vile things means, also, the putting on of something else. In this case Paul mentions in the tenth verse to “Put on the new man”, and that is, of course having to do with one’s salvation. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ; he is a new creation: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17).
When we have put on the new man that means a different walk, different talk, different lifestyle. It is clear that one’s desires, diets, attitudes, and drives change for the glory of Christ, the betterment of others and one’s self, as well.
Let’s begin by looking at those verses called twelve and thirteen. Again we have the call of Paul to ‘Put on’. Having been stripped of the old dirty garments of sin; the old man and his deeds, we need something stronger, better, able to do the job. Notice what we are to ‘Put on’. Just a word of instruction – these are unknown to the unloving, unredeemed heart and life. These things are evidence of a changed life, redeemed, called and chosen by God, and beloved of God.
The redeemed of the Lord have “Bowels of mercies”, “Kindness”, “Humbleness of mind”, “Meekness”, “Longsuffering”, “Forbearing one another”, and “Forgiving one another”. There could possibly be a smidgen of these things in the unredeemed mind and heart, but not as in the case of the Believer. Now, let’s look at the meaning of these things:
Bowels of mercies is speaking of a love that reaches down into your innermost being; when you see a brother or sister in Christ fall into sin – you do not blame, castigate, gossip, or slander the individual, but you minister and encourage by grace and mercy; tenderheartedly, considering yourself (Gal. 6:1).
Kindness is usefulness – a going out of one’s way, even, to aid, give help; even in showing the kindness to someone whom you have perceived as having wronged you – probably especially so with them who have wronged you.
Humbleness of mind – having to not think of one’s self more highly than they ought to think; that which is always thinking of others, and seeking their good; rejoicing when others are achieving, but you do not seem to be.
Meekness – someone said, “Meekness is strength or power under control”. Jesus would fit this description to a tee. Too many times in politics, in churches, or any place of leadership power is the main interest, and to whose harm?
Longsuffering – it is said that the actual meaning of this is not known, but some have said it means “suffering long”; Strong’s gives a word ‘Longanimity’ or we could call it Patience. One example of this word is God’s ‘longsuffering’ for us. It is the ability to hold on no matter how long it will take – until the end.
Forbearing one another – is also called “Put up with”. One thing we as Christians really ought to realize is that we are all redeemed by the same blood of Jesus Christ, called to the same salvation, the same body of Christ; and with differences. We are not all going to see everything eye to eye. We should and will agree on the basic doctrines of the faith of Christ, His Word, etc., so at times when we get obstinate, hard headed, and stubborn with each other we should laugh about these differences of opinion and go on caring for one another.
Forgiving one another – this almost sounds like the previous one, but they are different. Forgiving someone is you paying the debt they owe you, by wiping the “slate” clean. That is what Jesus did for us on the cross. He asked the Father to forgive as the soldiers drove the nails in His hands. He was paying a debt He did not owe.
In verse 14 we see what it is that we need in order for these things to stick together and work efficiently, and sufficiently. When you are building a house there are many nails used to put board to board to erect the structure. These nails, whether a single nail, or a gang nail holds this building together. The idea is to be held together so well that it will never fall. We do not really have that kind of security in our fallen world.
Paul tells us, “Put on charity”, and by ‘charity’ he means a God-like love. Love like God does. How does God love us? He loves us unconditionally, ie., without conditions. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8b). Even while we were His enemies, yet He loved us, each and everyone.
When we have this God-like love there will be nothing anyone can do to cause us to hate them, to be jealous of them, to envy them, and instead we will rejoice with them when they are rejoicing; and we will weep with them when they weep. Here Paul commands us to “Put on charity”. This is not an ‘Itchy, goody, feely, emotionally moving” type of love. This is the love that is motivated by the heart of God, and it has no qualifications, or hindrances. Remember this, though, “God loves us just as we are, but He loves us too much to leave us the way we are”.
The next thing Paul deals with is having the “Peace of God” in verses 15 – 16. Paul mentions the peace of God in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Without the peace of God there could be no love; either for others or for God. We gain the peace of God through His work of justification.
When you are at peace with God, ie., not trying to gain peace on your own merit, works, etc. and accepting the gift of grace which God gives through the cross of Christ; there will be no problem with letting Him rule in your life; and that will include being at peace with your brother and sister in Christ. Even if a brother or sister is still at odds with you; you can still look them in the eye when they are broken down on the side of the road, and you pull over to help them. It is also the means to remaining always thankful.
It does not matter the Christian’s lot in this life. There are brothers and sisters in Christ who own worldly possessions and there are brothers and sisters who do not. Some are quite poor in this world’s goods, and those who have are commanded to help those who have not; and to do it without murmuring and complaining.
How does one go about letting the “Word of Christ dwell in you richly…”? John MacArthur writes, “To let the word of Christ richly dwell is identical to being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).” FROM THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY ON COLOSSIANS AND PHILEMON pg. 159. The word of Christ is to be in us abundantly, overflowing, but how can it be doing so, when we seem to remain Biblically illiterate. It is by the word of Christ that we grow in Him. It is by the word of Christ that we become like Him. It is by the word of Christ that we can have ‘all wisdom’, and teach and admonish “…one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord”.
Here is a further word of explanation from John MacArthur, “Having the Word of Christ richly dwell in us produces not only information, but also emotion. It generates psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, and singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Psalms were taken from the Old Testament psalter, the book of Psalms. They sang psalms put to music, much as we do today. Hymns were expressions of praise to God. It is thought that some portions of the New Testament (such as Col. 1:15-20 and Phil. 2:6-11) were originally hymns sung in the early church. Spiritual songs emphasized testimony (cf. Rev. 5:9-10). They express in song what God has done for us.” Ibid. pg. 160.
The glory of Jesus Christ is the purpose of our being. He saved us for His own glory. He sanctifies us for His own glory. He fills us with His Spirit for His own glory. Shouldn’t everything we do be for His glory, and that must be “In His name” (v. 17).
When we are full of Jesus Christ we will also be the most thankful people on earth. Murmuring will cease. Complaints will be complaining because there are no tensions between brothers and sisters in Christ. When those things are so, then, the devil will certainly buffet us, and try and stir things up.
Let’s be thankful. Thank You Jesus. Thank You Lord. Thank You Father. Thank You Holy Spirit for pointing us to Jesus. Thank You Lord for making it possible for me to love You. Thank You Father for judging Jesus in my place. Thank You Father for every trial which is working for Your glory and my good.
-Tim A. Blankenship