Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)
This passage is addressed to Christians with two commands to “put on” or clothing ourselves with Christian character that comes with the sanctification process. As Christians we first must recognize where we stand in relationship with our Father. We are chosen, holy (set apart for Him), and loved by God. This is foundational to our daily walk. We begin chosen, holy and loved. Then growth can begin. The process to teleios can then be set in motion day by day in our daily submission to the will of God, being shaped by our life experiences and the work of the Holy Spirit. Remember who you are: chosen, holy and loved.
Our growth should be towards the character of compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience. What is not to like in these character traits? Do you want to be that person? You can be that person. These are all the character of Christ, and Christlikeness is the goal of sanctification. Embrace the process because God wants to work in you to perfection (teleios).
This growth, this Christian maturity, should manifest itself in our forgiveness of one another as Christ did for us – fully. There is no partial forgiveness in the kingdom of God. We are to forgive fully, just as Christ forgave us fully. Do you want to be this person, the one who forgives fully? Embrace the process and grow into that person. Remember you are chosen, holy, and loved of God. Remember He wants to work in you to bring you to perfection and Christlikeness.
Above all should be telling us something; this sounds important. Paul is carrying on the figure of putting on as a garment all the qualities spoken of in verses 12 and 13, and he exhorts the Colossian saints to put on over these, love as the binding factor, which will hold them together and make them usable. The most vital character to be built in the life of a Christian is God’s love. This sounds like the Biblical goal of sanctification because God is love as shown to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Jesus Christ is God’s love in action. If Christlikeness is the goal, then love is what it looks like in deed. What is God’s will for you? To be Christlike manifesting love for one another.
Why? The perfect bond of unity. The bond is what binds things together, and the power which unites and holds together all these virtues is God’s perfection, teleios, completeness, full growth, maturity. How completely divine love is fused with the other virtues as it binds them together into one harmonious whole and makes them usable. Community, the bond, is important to the Lord. Unity is what perfect unity looks like.