What does Paul mean by the phrase “put on love”?  

Author: BibleAsk Team

“Put on Love” 

The apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians, “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection” (Colossians 3:14). The apostle stressed that no matter how high the profession of the nominal Christian may be, if his soul is not filled with love for God and for his fellow men, he is not a true disciple of Christ (1 Corinthians 13:1–3). Love binds together into a perfect unity the qualities of the individual Christian and the various members of the body of Christ.  

In Colossians chapter 3, Paul teaches that the honorable stand and benefits of salvation that the Christian has in Christ. The legalistic religion of observing religious rituals is very poor by contrast with vitality of Christianity.  

Therefore, the striving children of God should be directed to heavenly things. Men’s goals and efforts should be turned away from the things of this world and must be put to death (Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:24). The old man, with his members used as tools of unrighteousness, must die.  The believer must put away “fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry,” “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth” and lying (Colossians 3:5,8,9).  

Paul calls the Christian for a gradual development into the full knowledge of the Lord. This knowledge is the experimental acknowledgement and understanding of the rules of heaven, and it aims towards the transformation of character to reflect the divine image (Genesis 1:26,27). As Christ is the express image of His Father (Hebrews 1:3), so the Christian is to grow “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).  

This change of character extends to all social levels. Thus, in the sphere of Christ, there is no national, religious, racial, or social barriers exist. Christ’s character is the ultimate goal “the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:23). Therefore, there should be no enmity between members of the body of Christ.   

In our relationships with fellow believers, not only should there be outward self-restraint or long suffering in words or acts, but there should also be the habit of inwardly forgiving the wrongs, or weaknesses of others (Mark 11:25).  

The great standard of man’s forgiveness of man is God’s forgiveness of the human family (Ephesians 4:32). True kindness or gentleness is one of the greatest recommendations of believers and is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It is the opposite of malice. 

Divine Help 

The Savior is the means by which this love and brotherhood is reached. God gives us the gift of love. “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5). God pour His love through the Holy Spirit who was promised by Christ (John 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26; 16:7–14). 

All the love that could attained could be done by Christ-given strength. Paul declared, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Paul recognized the Savior as the source of all his own love and goodness, hence there is no element of boasting here.  

When the divine command to love is faithfully kept, the Lord makes Himself responsible for the success of the work undertaken by the believer. Thus, in the Savior, there is power to complete all duties, strength to resist temptation, patience to endure hardships, peace to suffer without murmur, grace for overcoming, courage to face the enemy and energy for dedicated loving service. 

In His service, 

BibleAsk Team 

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