Summary: A description of the believers character traits from Col 3:12-17
Rev. John Rollyson
15 February 2009
The Believer’s Character
Salvation is not a matter of improvement or perfection of what has previously existed. It is total transformation. The New Testament speaks of believers having a new mind, a new will, a new heart, a new inheritance, a new relationship, new power, new knowledge, new wisdom, new perception, new understanding, new righteousness, new love, new desire, new citizenship, and many other new things—all of which are summed up in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).
According to 2 Cor 5:17, at the new birth a person becomes “new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come”. - It is not simply that he receives something new but that he becomes someone new. In Gal. 2:20, Paul says…
I. God’s Love is the Bond of perfection Vs.14
“Above” could also be translated as upon. Paul is talking about all of the qualities that are mentioned in verses 12 and 13 and is encouraging the believers to put on, over all of these things: love. Love will be the one thing that will hold all of these others together. The picture that Paul is using here is one of clothing: we would put on a coat, and it would cover all of our other clothes, in the same way, if we have Christ, then we have His love and it will cover us and will fuse with all of these other qualities and will hold them all together. Love is the most important moral quality in a believer’s life, and it is the very glue that produces unity in the church. As believers we will never bear with one another, or forgive one another, if we do not love one another. (KJV/ Charity/agape)
This love/charity, is described as the “bond of perfection”, it perfectly holds kindness, humility, patience together. Greek scholar Wuest notes “that in which all of the virtues are so bound together that perfection is the result, and not one of them is wanting to that perfection.” Our English word for perfection is from a Greek word which means complete, or, in good working order. These verses are a description of the Christian whose life is in good working order as a result of the fullness of the Spirit.
The Great philosopher Plato: “Two things cannot be held together without a third; they must have some bond of union. And the fairest bond is that which most completely fuses and is fused into the things which are bound.” (God’s love is the perfect bond that makes these others usable)
Paul said in Romans 13:10 that “love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.” To try to practice the virtues of 3:12–13 apart from love is legalism. They must flow from love, which in turn is a fruit of the Spirit-filled life (Gal. 5:22). Nothing is acceptable to God if not motivated by love (1 Cor. 13:1–3), including knowledge (Phil. 1:9), faith (Gal. 5:6), and obedience (John 14:15). (Can you preach?)
II. God’s Peace Should Rule our Hearts Vs.15
1. As a church as well as individually
The Greek word for peace includes both the concept of an agreement, and that of an attitude of rest or security. Both aspects are in view here. Objectively, believers are at peace with God: Romans 5:1,“Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” . The conflict between the believer and God is over, and the treaty was paid for by the blood of Christ. Because of that, believers are at rest, and secure. Paul told the Philippians in chapter 4, verse 7, that the “peace of God… shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. Here he calls it the peace of Christ because it is the peace He brings:
John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. “
The Greek word for Rule was used to describe the activity of an umpire in deciding the outcome of an athletic contest. This tells us that the peace of Christ guides believers in making decisions. Lightfoot says, “Wherever there is a conflict of motives or impulses or reasons, the peace of Christ must step in, and decide which is to prevail.” First Corinthians 6:17–18 provides an excellent example of this: “The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality.” It is our union with the Lord that compels us to purity. Sin offends Christ, with whom believers are at peace, and thereby destroys the rest and security in our hearts.
Peace is not only objective and subjective, but also relational. Believers were called to live in peace in one body. Individuals who have peace with Christ and in their own hearts will live in unity and harmony with each other. Disunion in the body is incompatible with the peace of the individual members. (We should be thankful for God’s peace)