Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.Colossians 3:14(NASB)
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.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved the world so much that You sent Your Son to be the propitiation for my sin. I pray that in all things I too may put on godly love... and become a conduit of Your love flowing out to others in the bond of unity and peace - to Your honour and glory.. in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.