Day 5: Together with these things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:14)
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What an amazing privilege it is to be a new creation in Christ.. forgiven of our sin, loved by the Lord, accepted in the Beloved, heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus.. and Paul lays out in no uncertain terms, our duty and delight towards the preeminent Christ – Who is our life.
As believers we have been placed in union with Christ and imputed with His own righteousness and Paul sketches out a brief outline of the main characteristics and distinctive features. which should be manifest in the life of all who have trusted Christ.. for the salvation of their soul and life everlasting.
As Christ’s spiritual seed we are instructed to put off the old man, with all its sinful lusts and unholy propensities.. and put on the new, for we died with Christ and have been raised-up into newness of life in Him. How precious to realise that our new life is hidden with Christ in God and that the day is coming when we will be with Him in heavenly glory as well as in character and conduct.
Having listed the ungodly characteristic that should not be exhibited in a Christian’s life, Paul continues to list the different fruit of the Spirit, which should be manifested in the life of all those who walk in spirit and truth. But although we are called to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness and long-suffering, where gracious consideration and genuine forgiveness of others are identified as vital qualities of the believer – it is love ruling the heart and peace protecting the soul that is given the main emphasis here. But above ALL, put on love which binds these things together the unity of the Spirit – and let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Love is the quality that binds all godly characteristics together in Christ. Love is the preeminent fruit of the Spirit from which all other virtues flow. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things – love never fails in God’s economy. Other virtues may be manifest and different gifts may have been bestowed on a believer.. but if godly love is lacking then the Christian character is deeply flawed.
Love is not the sugary emotion that coats the world’s understanding of this godly quality. True love is firmly secured to a committed affection and respect for the Person, Character and Work of God and a wholehearted desire for the well-being of others. Love places God at the center and circumference of our lives and gives Him the honour and respect that is due to His holy name. And the inflow of God’s love into the life of a spiritual believer is transferred into an outflow of that love to others – in a bond of unity and peace – and such is manifested in life who is walking in spirit and truth.
Love cannot be taught or acquired through study – nor can it be worked up in our emotions or rooted in any romantic feelings. Godly love flows into our very being from the God of love Himself – and that same love of Christ is poured out from us into the lives of others.. for His honour and glory.
Colossians 3:14 Meaning of and over All These Virtues Put on Love
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Explanation and Commentary of Colossians 3:14
Love is the very highest virtue because it binds all the other virtues together. The Bible says that if one loves the Lord with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind, and loves their neighbor as themselves, then the whole law can be kept (Mt 22:35-40). The implication is that the entirety of the law is details about how to love God and others.
1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” Indeed, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God gave his Son because he loved us. Christ laid down his own life volitionally because he loved us.
Not only did this great love save us from the coming wrath of God for sin and injustice, but it showed us what true love is. This love is not the kind that romances a person who one is physically attracted to. It is not the love one has for the lusts of the flesh. It is a powerful force that conquers fear (1 Jn 4:18), and hatred (1 Jn 3:11-12), just as it conquered Satan, sin, and death.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Colossians 3:14
#1 “And over all these virtues…”
Throughout this chapter, Paul has written about putting off certain negative traits and putting on Christ and the things of Christ. Those things are truthfulness (9), compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (12). These are virtues that we are to “clothe ourselves in” (Col 3:12), or put on.
#2 “…put on love,”
To “put on love” is to make a conscious choice to love God and others, to walk in this love. When one has been attacked by an enemy or even a friend, the goal is to put on love and bless rather than curse. When one is misunderstood, one should “put on love” and bear with the other. When one is tempted to sin against God, one should put on love and love God too much to rebel against him.
#3 “which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
What do all these virtues have in common? They are all manifestations of love. To love is to be compassionate. To love is to be truthful. To love is to be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. One doesn’t have to think too much about each of the Spiritual fruits, because if one understands love and puts it into practice, the other traits will be there. It also goes that a failure in these areas is a sign of a failure to love. If you notice you are impatient, for instance, pray and ask God that he would help you and that you may love well.