Colossians 3:14
And over all these virtues put on love, which is the bond of perfect unity.
Sermons
Charity the Bond of PerfectnessC. Hodge, D. D.Colossians 3:14
Gospel CharityJ. Owen, D. D.Colossians 3:14
Love a Perfecting GracR. Hewlett, D. D.Colossians 3:14
Love the Bond of PerfectnessR. Tuck, B. A.Colossians 3:14
Love the Finish of the Christian CharacterH. W. Beecher., R. Tuck, B. A.Colossians 3:14
Love the Perfection of the Christian CharacterG. Barlow., Bishop D. Wilson.Colossians 3:14
The Bond of PerfectnessW.F. Adneney Colossians 3:14
The Grace of CharityR. Tuck, B. A.Colossians 3:14
The Duty of Putting on All the Characteristic Qualities of the New ManT. Croskery Colossians 3:12-14
A Holy ChurchT. W. Jenkyn, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
A Holy LifeH. Bonar, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
Bowels of MerciesBishop Davenant.Colossians 3:12-15
ElectionPaxton Hood.Colossians 3:12-15
Gentle ChristiansColossians 3:12-15
Humbleness of MindColossians 3:12-15
Humility a SafeguardColossians 3:12-15
Humility and CheerfulnessJ. Ruskin.Colossians 3:12-15
KindnessJ. Morison, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
Long-SufferingN. Byfield.Colossians 3:12-15
Long-Suffering RewardedW. Jay.Colossians 3:12-15
Meekness: its BlendingD. Thomas, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
Meekness: its BlessednessArchdeacon Hare.Colossians 3:12-15
Meekness: its NatureJames Hamilton, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
Meekness: its PowerE. Foster.Colossians 3:12-15
Meekness: its UsefulnessGotthold.Colossians 3:12-15
PityAddison.Colossians 3:12-15
Pity the Secret of Prophetic LightR. Glover.Colossians 3:12-15
Religion Moves to PityR. Glover.Colossians 3:12-15
The Blessings of a Benignant SpiritA. Barnes, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
The Costume of a SaintT. G. Horton.Colossians 3:12-15
The Elect and Their DutiesJ. Daille.Colossians 3:12-15
The Essentials of a Christian CharacterW. Barlow.Colossians 3:12-15
The Garments of the Renewed SoulA. Maclaren, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
The King's LiveryNewman Hall, LL. B.Colossians 3:12-15
The Nature of HolinessBishop Huntington.Colossians 3:12-15
The Power of KindnessJ. Parker, D. D.Colossians 3:12-15
The Power of KindnessAmerican AgriculturistColossians 3:12-15
Tire Power of CompassionArchbishop Thomson.Colossians 3:12-15
The Marks, Method, and Motive of the Christian LifeU.R. Thomas Colossians 3:12-17
The New Life of LoveR.M. Edgar Colossians 3:12-17
What Particularly We are to Put On. How We are AddressedR. Finlayson Colossians 3:12-17
A Threefold Cord of GraceE.S. Prout Colossians 3:14, 15
We have here an attractive picture of a loving, peaceful, thankful Christian.

I. LOVE. It is compared to the girdle, put on over the other articles of attire, and helping to bind all in their place. Christian love is no mere natural emotion or self interested affection. It is the fruit of the Spirit, whereby God is sincerely loved for his own sake, and one's neighbour for God's sake. To love even our fellow Christians because they are God's children is not always easy, on account of their inconsistencies. But it is eminently a Christian grace (John 13:35; 1 John 5:1). It is called "the bond of perfectness," because:

1. It is the element of all other graces, the sphere in which they are exercised. It is like the golden light in which some summer evening landscape is bathed, or the green grass on which the multicoloured flowers are blooming. Without love, "knowledge puffeth up," gifts are "sounding brass," faith is idle (Galatians 5:6), zeal may be wildfire, mercy weakness, humility pride, and charity ostentation. With love, each of these maybe the Spirit's fruit. It is thus the bond of perfectness, the distinctive feature of a complete Christian character (Romans 13:8; 1 Corinthians 13:8, 13; Galatians 5:14).

2. Love is the pledge of all other graces. For if we dwell in love and in God (1 John 4:16) we enjoy increasingly the perfections of God. The outer dress is generally the most valuable part, and a sign that other parts are present and in keeping with it. So the precious girdle of love, visible to all, is a sign that other graces are present and kept in their place by this "bond of perfectness." Cultivate it by charitable judgments, by much forbearance, by seeking to win and refine the less attractive, and to walk in the path marked out for us by Christ (John 15:12; Ephesians 5:2).

II. PEACE. This peace is described by a most attractive name, "the peace of Christ" (John 14:27), the tranquillity of a trustful child. The term "rule" may be understood in two senses.

1. Exert its power to protect. (See Philippians 4:7, where God's peace is likened to a garrison; Psalm 112:7; Isaiah 26:3.) Peace gives strength, and strength peace (Psalm 29:11).

2. Sit as umpire. When in doubt in regard to business speculations, worldly amusements, etc., we may ask, "Which course will the peace of Christ ruling in my heart approve?" To such peace we are called, but to enjoy it we must allow this peace to rule. We shall then be kept from falling (Psalm 119:165), have peace in conflict (John 16:33) and in inaction (Psalm 4:8), through life and in death (Psalm 37:37). Peace is the faithful handmaid of love, which attends it even in the stormier days of life (Romans 15:13).

III. THANKFULNESS. If God's love is shed abroad and Christ's peace rules in our hearts, grateful feelings will well up like sparkling streams. And gratitude to God will deepen love and preserve in peace, fostering forbearance, pity, unselfishness, and patience under those trials which a loving Father appoints for our education. - E.S.P.







And above all these things put on charity.
I. Charity is the greatest of graces in THE WIDTH AND EXTENT OF ITS SPHERE. Other graces have particular things with which they are more intimately concerned; special parts of life on which they throw the light of their charm; special times in which they actively operate. They are like the winds that blow, the rain that falls, the snow that covers, or the lightning that purifies sometimes. But charity is like the Divine sunlight that shines on always, works always, tempers the winds, warms the rains, dissipates the mists, melts the snow; sometimes seen and felt, sometimes unseen, but never ceasing its influence, and recognizing no earth limits to its sphere. Charity covers the whole life and relationships of the Christian, and 1 Corinthians 13. maps out and distinguishes them.

1. The sphere of a brother's opinions.

2. The sphere of a brother's failings.

3. The sphere of a brother's sorrows.

4. The sphere of a brother's sins.

II. Because OF THE DIFFICULTY WITH WHICH IT IS ATTAINED. Difficulty is often the test of value. Gold is valued because of the cost and toil of procuring it. Charity is difficult mainly through the separatings of sin. Sin broke up the fellowship of the human family, and filled the world with opposing interests. Charity is to heal these great wounds, temper the opposing relations, and on its own substantial basis to make the human family one again. And, as charity is God's own nature, we have first to be reconciled to, and come into sympathy with Him.

III. Because IV NEVER FAILETH. The summer flowers which blossom in beauty fade and fail. Charity is no summer flower born of earth, sunshine, and showers. It is a heaven-born plant; its flowers never fail; it is like the tree of life.

(R. Tuck, B. A.)

There is no grace or duty that is not commanded in Scripture, but this is commanded above all others (1 Peter 4:8; 1 Corinthians 12:31).

I. THE NATURE OF THIS LOVE. It is the second great duty brought to light by the gospel. There is a natural love which follows on natural relations, and there is a love which arises from society in sin or in pleasure, from a suitableness of humour in conversation, or of design as to political ends, but all these are utter strangers to evangelical love. And therefore, when it was first brought to light by the gospel, the heathen were amazed. "See how these Christians love one another." What is this love.

1. It is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), as contradistinguished from that which arises from our natural inclination.

2. It is an effect of faith. "Faith worketh by love." How: When it respects God's command requiring this love, His promise accepting it, and His glory where. unto it is directed. Self may work by love sometimes, and flesh, interest, and reputation, but not by this love.

3. It is that which knits the souls of believers with an entire affection (Ephesians 4:16; Psalm 16:2).(1) The whole mystical body of Christ being the adequate object of gospel love, it is indispensably required of us that we love all believers as such. But this is accompanied by some limitations.(a) In the exercise of it, it will much answer the evidence that persons are interested in the body of Christ. There are some whose opinions and practices will exercise the most extensive charity to judge that they belong to it. Yet, according to our evidence, so is our love to be.(b) There may be degrees in our love, especially as to delight and valuation, according as we see more or less of the image of Christ upon a believer, this likeness being the formal reason of this love.(c) Its exercise must be determined by opportunities.(2) There is required an inclination to all acts of love towards all believers, as opportunity shall serve. If we turn our face away from our brother how dwelleth the love of God in us? If it be in us let it be advantaged by any opportunity, and it will break through difficulties and pleas of flesh and blood.(3) Christ has provided us with a safe, suitable, and constant object by His institution of particular Churches. Let none, then pretend that they love the brethren in general while their love is not exercised towards those in the same Church society with them.

II. THE GROUNDS WHY THIS LOVE IS SO NECESSARY.

1. Because it is the great way whereby we can give testimony to the power of the gospel (John 17:21-23). There is no oneness but that whereof love is the bond of perfectness, that will give conviction unto the world that God hath sent Christ, for He alone can give it.

2. We have no evidence that we are disciples without it (John 13:34-35).

3. This is that in which the communion of saints principally consists.(1) The fountain and spring of this communion is our common participation of one Spirit from the one Head, Jesus Christ.(2) This communion is expressed in the participation of the same ordinances in the same Church.(3) The life and formal reason of this communion is love. Ephesians 4:15-16 is the most glorious description of this communion of saints. It begins in love — "speaking the truth in love;" it ends in love — "edifying itself in love;" it is carried on by love; it is all love.

III. CAUTIONS AGAINST ITS HINDRANCES.

1. Take heed of a morose disposition. If it does not hinder some fruits of love, yet it sullies the glory of its exercise. Grace is intended to change our natural temper and make the froward meek, and the passionate patient.

2. Take heed of hindrances which may attend your state and condition. Riches and honour encompass with so many circumstances that it is difficult to break through them to familiarity with the meanest members of the Church. The gospel leaves you your providential advantages, but in things which concern your communion it lays all level (James 2.). We all serve one common Master, who for our sakes became poor.

3. Take heed of satisfying yourselves with the duties of love without looking after the entire working of the grace of love.

(J. Owen, D. D.)

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 ver. 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.

I. LOVE IS USED of —

1. Benevolence to man.

2. God's love to us.

3. Our love to God.

4. Brotherly love among Christians.

5. Love in general as a Christian grace without specification of object. Its characteristics are noted in 1 Corinthians 13.

II. OF THIS LOVE IT IS TAUGHT —

1. That without this all our passions, professions, hopes, are vain and worthless. No amount of orthodoxy, power, natural or supernatural, devotion, almsgiving, Church membership, assiduity in religious duties, is of any avail.

2. That this love is the fruit of faith. It cannot exist without it, and faith without it is dead.

3. It is the bond of perfectness.

(1)It unites all the Christian virtues.

(2)It unites all the members Of Christ's body.

4. It is the image of God. It makes us like Christ.

5. It is the beauty and blessedness of heaven. Perfection of the religion of the Bible.

(1)Not ritualism, benevolence, orthodoxy, but

(2)Faith which works by love.

(C. Hodge, D. D.)

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. "Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth." There is also a putting off of the old garments of self, pride, and indulgence; the clean spirit cannot do with the foul clothes; and there is the putting on of the new dress — the various garments that compose it are called, "bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, and forgiving." These are, as it were, the under-garments; the man is not clothed fit for the presence of the Divine royalty without the robe. worked in graceful colours, made of finest material, hanging in graceful folds, putting the touch of harmony and grace on all the other garments, and being, as it were, "the bond of perfectness," finishing off and perfecting the whole dress. That over-covering, all-hallowing robe is charity; in its adornings, and completings, and harmonisings, being the very "bond of perfectness" to a gracious character.

(R. Tuck, B. A.)

e: — Here is an evident allusion to the zone of the orientalists, which was generally adorned with jewels and ornaments, and which, by adjusting the folds of the drapery, served at once to give a beautiful form to the human figure, and to unite and perfect the whole dress. The use the apostle here makes of the metaphor is apparent: as the zone was a most material part of the dress, combining and perfecting all, and giving symmetry and beauty to the form of the person by whom it was worn; so charity is the best of all the graces, perfecting and combining the whole in beauty and in love. And, like that also, we may remark that it is put on last. Men in general are much mare anxious to hate and to destroy than to love and do good; and even after they seem to have imbibed much of the Christian temper, this sacred bond, this beautiful zone, is long wanting.

(R. Hewlett, D. D.)

Love is the most potent affection of the human heart.

I. 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 ver. 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.

II. IT OCCUPIES THE MOST EXALTED PLACE IN CHRISTIAN CHARACTER. "Above all these things," as the outer garment covers and binds together the rest.

III. 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.

IV. THE PERFECTION OF THE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER IS SEEN IN THE PRACTICAL MANIFESTATION OF LOVE. "Put on charity."

1. Love is indispensable. It is possible to possess many beautiful traits — much that is humane and aimiable — 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

2. Love is susceptible of individual cultivation.Lessons:

1. The mere profession of Christianity is empty and valueless.

2. Every grace of the Christian character must be diligently exercised.

3. Above and through all other graces love must operate.

(G. Barlow.)Love is over all, and the bond of perfectness, because —

I. IT IS OF GREATER EXTENT THAN ANY OTHER VIRTUE. Mercy and kindness, and humbleness and forgiveness, are separate graces; but love embraces them all, regards generally our neighbour and those in adversity, our friends and enemies, the good and the bad.

II. WITHOUT IT ALL OTHER GRACES ARE VAIN AND DELUSIVE. Mercy without it is weakness; humility, debasement, meekness, cajolery, and deceit; patience, stupidity; forgiveness, hypocrisy; all is inconsistent, heartless, wayward, selfish.

III. IT SUPPLIES THE WANT OR REMEDIES THE DEFECT OF ANY OTHER GRACES AND VIRTUES. For we are always falling short in one or other, from indwelling sin, from temptation, from cast of character, from peculiar circumstances. A sweet charitable temper provides the articles of Christian attire in which we are from time to time most defective, supplies their place, hides their imperfections, remedies the ill effects of their absence.

(Bishop D. Wilson.)

When the cutler brings his goods to market, he may have the best of steel in the blade and the best of horn in the handle, and every part may be rivetted strongly; but if the blade has not been polished, and if there be no finishing work in the handle, he cannot sell his stock. It is just as good for practical purposes as though it were finished; but people do not want it. They want their blades polished and their handles finished, and they are so used to having goods sand-papered and burnished, that they will not take them unless they are so. There must be art in them. And this is carried so far, that when articles are good for nothing art is put on the outside to make them seem good for something. And men buy things for the sake of their looks. The idea of perfection lies in the direction of the aesthetic; and as much so in social and moral elements as in physical things. Men are not now finished in any respect in their higher relations. I mean even good men. There are hundreds of men that are in the main laying out their life and character in right directions, and on right foundations; but how few men know how to be good variously, systematically, gracefully, genially, sweetly, beautifully.

(H. W. Beecher.)When the apostle speaks so highly of charity, he does not mean to disparage the other graces. They also are most beautiful, considered apart from charity, only charity has such a sun-like excellence, in its presence all star-like beauty, and even moon-like beauty, seem to grow dim and fade away. Compare the diamond with a common wayside stone, and we are not greatly impressed with its superiority; the contrast is too great. Set it in the royal crown; encircle it with pearls; let it compare with other jewels; with ruby, and garnet, and emerald; then the depth of its crystal purity seems so impressive, and the flashing of its light so exquisite. Set charity alongside "humbleness, bowels of mercies, long-suffering," or forgiving, then it seems to gather up into itself much of the charm and loveliness of such graces, and stands forth in the centre of them all, "the very bond of perfectness."

(R. Tuck, B. A.)

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