A True Christian Virtue
Category : General
Colossians 3:14 (KJV)
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Love is the commonest and most potent affection of the human heart. It has been the inexhaustible theme of writers in all ages, in poetry and prose. It has been invested with the bewitching drapery of romance, and exhibited as the instrumental cause of the darkest crimes and of the brightest virtues. The world never tires of learning of its adventures, trials, and victories.
These words come after an exhortation to the practice of the Christian virtues of mercy, etc.. In addition to these we are to put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. Not perfect bond, but that which renders perfect. Love is that which unites all the others into a complete whole. Another interpretation is to this effect. As in verse 14, Paul has said in the Church and in Christ “there is neither Greek nor Jew,” etc., he says here that love is the unifying principle which binds together all the otherwise discordant members of the Church.
Love here is described as the bond of all perfection. The thing which will unite all other things, and make them complete; compare the parallel place in Ephesians 4:3. The idea seems to be that love will bind all the other graces fast together, and render the whole system complete. Without love, though there might be other graces and virtues, there would be a want of harmony and compactness in our Christian graces, and this was necessary to unite and complete the whole.
It is the prime element in every other grace of the Christian character. It is the soul of every virtue, and the guarantee of a genuine sincerity. Without it all the rest are but glittering sins. It is possible to have all those mentioned in verse 12; but without love they would be meaningless, cold, and dead. Mercy would degenerate into sentimentality, kindness into extravagance, humility into mock depreciation, long-suffering into dull, dogged stupidity.
It was pointed out that there is great beauty in the expression, and it contains most important truth. If it were possible to conceive that the other graces could exist among a Christian people, yet there would be a sad incompleteness, a painful want of harmony and union, if love were not the reigning principle. Nor faith, nor zeal, nor prophecy, nor the power of speaking with the tongue of angels, would answer the purpose.
It occupies the most exalted place in Christian character. “Above all these things,” as the outer garment covers and binds together the rest. Love is the pledge of permanency in the Christian character. As the girdle, or cincture, bound together the loose flowing robes of the ancients, so love is the power that holds together all those graces which together make up perfection. Love is the preservative force in the Christian character. Without it, knowledge would lose its enterprise, mercy and kindness become languid, humility faint, and long-suffering indifferent. Love binds together in a bond which time cannot injure, the enemy unloose, or death destroy.
The Christian is here conceived a cleansed and beautifully-robed man, fitted to enter the presence of the great King. He describes the work which we have to do in order to prepare ourselves for the royal audience. There is an inner cleansing of the heart, the thoughts, the secret springs of our being. Our perfection of the Christian character is seen in the practical manifestation of love. “Put on charity.” Love is indispensable. It is possible to possess many beautiful traits–much that is humane and amiable–without being a complete Christian: to be very near perfection, and yet lack one thing. Without love all other graces are as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.
Have a Great and God filled Day