Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering;…
The Christian character is distinguished by —
I. A SPECIAL DESIGNATION, signifying —
1. Divine choice — "Elect."
2. Personal purity — "Holy." The evidence and practical result of election (Ephesians 1:4),
3. Divine affection — "Beloved." Each of these epithets has the force of a motive.
II. A. HEARTFELT SYMPATHY. Arising from —
1. A spirit of tender mercy — "Bowels of mercy" — a phrase expressing the effect on the body of strong emotions of pity. A genuine pity is not only visible on the countenance, and uttered by the lips, but is felt in the inmost heart, and prompts to generous actions.
2. A spirit of kindness.
III. A GENUINE HUMILITY.
1. This is not undue self-depreciation, but a proper estimate of self.
2. It proceeds from exalted views of God.
3. It is fruitful, as that branch in the garden which is most heavily laden with fruit is nearest the ground.
IV. A GENTLE AND PATIENT SPIRIT.
1. "Meekness" (Judges 8:2), which is slow to take and scorns to give offence.
2. "Longsuffering," meekness continued, though subjected to the strongest provocations.
V. A PRACTICAL MANIFESTATION OF A SPIRIT OF MUTUAL FORBEARANCE AND FORGIVENESS.
1. This is to be exercised universally — "Any." Quarrel would be better rendered complaint. It takes two to make a quarrel; the Christian should never be one.
2. It is en forced by the highest example — "Even as Christ." The heart that is not moved by this is incorrigible.Lessons —
1. The unity of Christian character is made up of many separate essential graces.
2. The condition of things in this world affords ample scope for the exercise of every Christian grace.
3. To forgive is at once the most difficult and most Christlike.
Parallel VersesKJV: Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;