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Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity.[1]

Compare it with: Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.[2]

It is time to put aside our armour, for it is only needed when the day of evil comes and we are in the field of combat. But when we are in the stronghold of strongholds, we do not need to wear armour but to wear what the Lord wore. When Jesus walked the Earth, He wore no armour, but wore simple clothing, which could be divided into four shares, plus a seamless undergarment that could not be divided so they cast the lot for it. When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took His clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom,[3] so they cast the lot for it. Five pieces of garments, just like the five mentioned by Paul in Colossians 3:12-14: Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, with patience being last, the indivisible garment of the Lord. For when compassion, kindness, humility and gentleness is divided, patience is what keeps the body wrapped up still in an indivisible covering. To bear with each other is to be patient with each other. Whatever division we have experienced amongst ourselves, if you think about it, has it not been because we were impatient? Just like the saints under the altar calling out, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until You judge the inhabitants of the Earth and avenge our blood?”[4] Impatience of some sort, always asking, “How long, Sovereign Lord…” appears to be so ingrained into us that even the martyrs in Heaven still have a measure of it. So then, how much more impatient are we on Earth?

Now, you do not put on your undergarments last, but first, I hope! So, the first thing we must clothe ourselves with is patience, and if you look at 1 Corinthians 13:4, the first thing about love is that it is patient, and the last thing is that it always perseveres. Without patience, there can be no love to begin with. There is no such thing as an impatient love, so any impatience in us is a sign of our lack of love, lack of agape love, and impatience is what we need to repent of, impatience with each other. Paul ties Bear with each other and forgive together, that is, without patience to begin with, there can be no real forgiveness, because repentance takes time. It takes time for a seed to take root, to grow and then to bear fruit, and like the farmer, we must wait patiently for the crop, and while we wait, we must hold onto hope and keep the faith. A tomato takes a couple of months to bear fruit, but it is not very sweet. A mango or durian takes years, but they are much sweeter. Patience brings forth the sweeter forgiveness, and indeed, Peter wrote: The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.[5]

Patience is what permits forgiveness to ripen its sweetest stature when repentance finally comes. So, if you can receive this, receive this now, the forgiveness that God will pour out on the last day when He “will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the Name of the Lord and serve Him shoulder to shoulder,”[6] will be the sweetest of all, for like good wine, it will have matured the longest in God’s cellar of Grace. After all, He is known to save the best for last. And since God enjoys forgiving, He is going to enjoy Himself the most in forgiveness on the last day so as to prepare Himself for the next great event after Judgement Day, the wedding feast of the Lamb, His Son. So, if we are to forgive as the Lord forgives us, as Paul wrote, then we must master the sin of impatience with patience. We must learn to be patient as God is patient and recognise that God is not slow as some understand slowness.

Thus, unless the undergarment is on properly, all the other garments will not sit correctly, and when you then put the final garment on, which is LOVE, then even love is not correctly hung in place. Forgiveness is not a garment, for forgiveness is deeper than compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and even love, as well as faith, righteousness, truth, peace, salvation and the sword of the Spirit, for all these six virtues and armour pieces are external, but forgiveness, as the Lord has commanded, must come from the heart. “This is how My heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”[7]

And what are men’s hearts full of? Nothing but evil; it was what was in men’s hearts that grieved God the most, for it is written: The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the Earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.[8] Since you now know what wickedness is, that it is God-forsaking and not rebellion nor sin, it means in Genesis 6:5 that it was the way man was forsaking God with all the inclinations of his heart, all the thoughts of his heart, that God found evil. So, what was the God-forsakenness that was in the hearts of men who had seen Adam alive, for Adam lived 930 years, and Noah was born 1056 years after Adam was formed? Many of the generations from Mahalalel[9] onwards were alive, perhaps to hear Adam tell them all for 800 years about God’s curse on them as they toiled in the sun to grow food. The wickedness in men’s heart, all the inclinations of their thoughts, in those days was the way they forsook God in not forgiving God for casting them out of the garden. Noah may have been the only one amongst them who did not hold it against God that they had to work the soil to have food, for it is written: Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard.[10] Is it a coincidence that the Lord used the figure of speech of a vineyard and of a farmer sowing seed in the parables so often? Noah loved the soil even though it was cursed. He loved working it to bring forth the crop that brings forth the wine. Noah was more than a man of faith; he was a man of patience, except when he got himself drunk. That is why we do not get drunk. It makes kings forget the Law of God and makes men of God lose their patience, and if you lose your patience, you have lost your love. So much so, Noah cursed the son of Ham, Canaan, for Ham’s sin.

Forgiveness in our heart is what wipes out the wickedness and evil that is in our own heart, and when we forgive, it must be from the heart, for whatever your heart is full of, thus it overflows unto the mouth.[11] One of the greatest evils in the days to come again, Jesus said, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also it will be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark…”[12] But what happened when Noah entered the ark and what were the hearts of the people like? They were God-forsaking and unforgiving towards God. In Revelation 16, it is written: They cursed the Name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify Him… Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of Heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done… They cursed God on account of the plague of hail.[13] That is just like the days of Noah, the overflow of the hearts of men will be unforgiveness towards God for His just punishments. Adam was never recorded to have repented and that lack of repentance is seen in the way he raised Seth. When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.[14] And all the descendants of Seth are those who were killed in the flood with Cain’s descendants, except for Noah. How much forgiveness do you think Cain had for God? Adam did not repent of what he had done, and neither will the present sons of Adam.

So, without patience, which gives the feat of patient endurance, perseverance and long-suffering, there can be no acceptable forgiveness that is from the heart, and the forgiveness is not of the quality of God’s. Without patience, we cannot forgive as God forgives. And it is only after we have put on forgiveness that we can clothe ourselves with the outer garments of compassion, kindness, humility and gentleness. For, if you think about it, how compassionate, kind, humble or gentle does a soldier in full battle armour really look? Not at all!

Because we had lost the stronghold of forgiveness and forsaken the covenant, the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins, we had to always walk around in our armour. Little wonder you and I are armoured up more often than not. So we had faith, truth and righteousness, we spoke of peace, thought of salvation and used the word of God. But true compassion, humility, gentleness, kindness and patience was gone as we split the church into denominations over doctrines and excommunicated each other and then warred, killed and tortured each other over accusations of heresies, creating more blind people, lame, deaf, lepers, dead and more poor people, instead of causing the blind to see, the lame to walk, the deaf to hear and delivering the poor from their poverty.

We forgot to forgive in our hurry to display our shields of faith and the brilliance of our swordsmanship as we wrestled over doctrines, traditions and theories, defending our righteousness and holding up our truths, as we trampled on each other’s salvation in the name of peace on Earth as an army gone berserk. And all the while, preachers like me preached, “Put on the full armour of God, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power,”[15] like a used car salesman or snake oil merchant, making empty promises because we did not see or hear the glory of the Lord and His voice that said, “Listen to Him!”[16]

We did not hear that He, who was so wrongly crucified, said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[17] And we did not see that He, who was so forsaken by God that He cried out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”[18] and yet went onto finish the work without coming off the cross at that moment, must have Himself forgiven the Father for forsaking Him. We did not hear and we did not see that God forgives; that’s why He is to be feared. We did not hear that the blood of the New Covenant is for the forgiveness of sins. We did not see that forgiveness is the heart of God even as the spear pierced His Son and the blood and water came out so that even those who crucified Him could cry out, “Surely, He was the Son of God!”[19] so that they too could be saved!

We did not see or hear; we refused to listen even to Paul when he wrote: after you have done everything, to stand…[20] and in our pride, refused to acknowledge we have not done everything, even though we may have done something. So, we went with James and used our works to prove our faith; works that were incomplete in God’s eyes, for we did not listen to Jesus who said, “So, you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”[21]

We refused to acknowledge the truth that we have not done everything, and we have no right to stand and put on our armour. Indeed, there is NO NEED for the armour until we have done everything and the day of evil is on us.

So now, off with the armour and be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, for the safety of the stronghold of forgiveness permits us to walk as Jesus walked… without armour.


 

[1] Colossians 3:12-14

[2] Ephesians 6:11-18

[3] John 19:23

[4] Revelation 6:10

[5] 2 Peter 3:9

[6] Zephaniah 3:9

[7] Matthew 18:35

[8] Genesis 6:5

[9] Genesis 5:12-17

[10] Genesis 9:20

[11] Luke 6:45

[12] Luke 17:26-27

[13] Revelation 16:9,10-11,21

[14] Genesis 5:3

[15] Ephesians 6:11,10

[16] Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35

[17] Luke 23:34

[18] Mark 15:34

[19] Matthew 27:54

[20] Ephesians 6:13

[21] Luke 17:10

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