12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity (Colossians 3.12-14).
So, we have learned we are God’s chosen people, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (I Peter 2.9, ESV, my emphasis added). And we are holy, set apart for God’s glory, to prove His amazing grace and mercy as He works in us and through us (Galatians 2.20, 3.27). As well you are loved beyond amazement. God extended His love to us further than we could ever imagine; yet we must try and understand the depths and heights to which God went to reconcile us back to Himself.
Beloved, meditate on these words from the Apostle John, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (I John 4.9-11, CSB).
How powerful and awesome God’s love towards us is! He sent His only Son into this sinful world so we could have life, real life, eternal life, praise God! He not only came into the world but, He took all our sins (II Corinthians 5.21) upon Himself and nailed them to the cross, so we could be free from the grip of sin, death and hell forever (I Corinthians 15.50-58).
With this understanding then we are to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. These five attributes should define us and our walk with God, as we deal with other people each and every day (for greater detail on these attributes see October 15, 2020, Daily Devotional, http://www.calvarybaptistsedalia.org/daily-devotional).
Paul continues his list of attributes with “Bearing with each other…” meaning we are to endure, to continue on steadfast in our faith, doing what God has called us to, regardless of persecution, threats, complaints or the attitudes of others and we do all of this without retaliating against them. Paul was a great example of how we should be, “to this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now (I Corinthians 4.11-13, NASB95). Christ, however, is the perfect example of this, “For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth;, when he was insulted, he did not insult in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten but entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (I Peter 2.21-25, CSB).
The next attribute is “forgiving each other…” the Greek word here means, “to be gracious,” therefore, we must start with forgiving ourselves and then forgiving others just as Jesus did. Now, do not misunderstand here, Jesus did not forgive Himself, He was sinless, but He set the example on forgiveness, and how we should forgive others. He was gracious, He gave up His perfect life, to die in our place, paying our price on the cross (Romans 6.23). So, we could have eternal life and be reconciled back to God our Father (Romans 5.8; II Corinthians 5.18-21). Hence, we should have the same generosity in our hearts and minds when it comes to the body of Christ (Matthew 18.15-17, 21-35). But we cannot stop our forgiveness with the body of Christ, we must also forgive those who are unbelievers as well. In doing so we can have the opportunity to show the love of God, and plant, water, and see the seed of God grow inside a new life. The words “I forgive you” are very powerful and should be used more often than they are.
Finally, Paul says, above all things, above all these attributes, beyond these things, put on love. It is which binds, or holds all these attributes together, in perfect unity. We can have all of these things but if there is no love with then what do we really have? I Corinthians 13, ask several “If” questions and “I don’t have love” what good is all of those things? Really, what good is anything without love? Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14.15). Paul writes, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13.10, ESV). Also, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything; what matters is faith working through love (Galatians 5.6, HSCB). Jesus said, “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13.34-35, CSB). Love is powerful, useful and necessary in the life of a believer if we are going to show the world Who God is and what He is doing in and through us to advance His kingdom.
Oh God of Heaven, my God who Loved me more than I can know or understand. I thank You for Your generous forgiveness of my sins. For sending Your Son to earth to show me the way to eternal life, and establish a way for me to have an eternal relationship with You. Lord, help me to have the same kind of forgiving heart and lovingkindness toward others. I know they will not always do nice things or be nice to me. But Lord help me to be gracious, loving and kind, so through my actions they will see You in my life. May my life be a living example of what Jesus Christ did for me so long ago. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
 The New International Version. (2011). (Col 3:12–14). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Pe 2:9). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Jn 4:9–11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (1 Co 4:11–13). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
 Christian Standard Bible. (2020). (1 Pe 2:21–25). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ro 13:10). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Ga 5:6). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
 Christian Standard Bible. (2020). (Jn 13:34–35). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.