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It is written in Colossians 3:12-14: 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 all together in perfect unity. Paul listed six items of which we are to clothe ourselves with – compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love.

Let’s start with compassion. In the Old Testament, the Lord proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”[1] “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”[2] In the New Testament, Jesus said, “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”[3] “I desire compassion, and not (a) sacrifice.”[4]

In Matthew 9:36, it is written that Jesus had compassion on the harassed and helpless, who were like sheep without a shepherd. At the feeding of the four thousand, Jesus had compassion for the people, for He said to His disciples, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with Me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”[5] In Matthew 20:34, Jesus had compassion on the two blind men who called out to Him for mercy. In Mark 1:41, Jesus had compassion on a leprous man. In Luke 7:13 of the NLT version, it is written that when Jesus saw the widow whose only son had died, His heart overflowed with compassion. In the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, Jesus said, “Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.”[6]

The second attribute on the list is kindness. Jesus said, “…love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.[7] If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”[8] In the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Jesus said, “‘Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’”[9] Also, kindness is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.[10]

The third attribute is humility. Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”[11] “…whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.[12] …whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”[13] “God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole Earth.”[14]

The fourth attribute is gentleness. Jesus said, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the Earth.”[15] “I am… gentle in heart.”[16] Gentleness is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit.[17]

The fifth attribute is patience. Jesus said, “By your patience possess your souls.”[18] In the letter to the church in Philadelphia, Jesus said, “Since you have kept My command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the Earth.”[19] It is written in Revelation: …God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying His commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus.[20] Paul wrote: …be patient, bearing with one another in love.[21] Patience is another fruit of the Holy Spirit.[22] 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.[23]

The sixth attribute is love. Jesus said, “Love your enemies…”[24] “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”[25] “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples.”[26] Paul wrote: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.[27] Love is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit.[28] John wrote: …God is Love.[29] This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.[30] This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.[31] Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the Name of God’s One and Only Son.”[32] “The Father loves Me because I sacrifice My life so I may take it back again.”[33] “…I will do what the Father requires of Me, so that the world will know that I love the Father.”[34]

Jesus has clothed Himself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love. And He has commanded His disciples to clothe themselves likewise. We are also to forgive as the Lord forgives. Jesus, who poured out His blood for the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins, forgives with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love. For God the Forgiver is compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient and loving. We will not be able to forgive as God forgives if we do not clothe ourselves with those six attributes.

Love binds compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience together in perfect unity and perfect harmony.[35] When Jesus prayed to His Father, He said, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in Me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as You and I are One—as You are in Me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in Us so that the world will believe You sent Me. I have given them the glory You gave Me, so they may be one as We are One. I am in them and You are in Me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that You sent Me and that You love them as much as You love Me.”[36] We cannot be one with each other if we do not have compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love, and neither if we do not forgive as the Lord forgives. If we cannot even forgive one another, how can we bear with each other? Where would the love be for one another then? For the elect of the Holy Spirit must uphold the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins by obeying its three statutes, namely the Law of Grace, the Law of Forgiveness, and the Law of Repentance. The elect must also obey all the commandments of Jesus. Remember that there is no place for unforgiveness in perfect unity and perfect harmony.[37]

If you have compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, but not love, you will not be able to be in perfect unity and perfect harmony with other brothers and sisters of Christ, for love is the perfect bond of unity.[38] Love is what holds the garments of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience together perfectly. A person who is dressed rightly should have a heart of forgiveness within himself and it should not contain any trace of unforgiveness. The overflow of forgiveness from one’s heart would remove all unforgiveness from within.

Imagine unforgiveness in your heart as wells of darkness. And these wells of unforgiveness vary in depth, depending on how much unforgiveness you have. The more unforgiveness you have, the deeper those wells are. Imagine forgiveness as water. When you forgive, you fill up the well of unforgiveness with some water. The more you forgive, the more water is poured into the well. Once the well of unforgiveness is filled full of water and even overflows from it, you know you have forgiven from your heart. Jesus said, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”[39]

We need to be one with each other in perfect unity, as the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are One, so that the world will know that the Father sent Jesus and that He loves us as much as He loves His Son. There can be no unity if there is unforgiveness, and there is no unforgiveness in love.

Repent if you have not clothed yourself in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, with love holding it all together perfectly. Now go and dress accordingly, lest you be found naked and shamefully exposed. Dress as Jesus the Son of Man is dressed. Be one with each other in perfect unity as the Lord who is Perfect is One. Amen.


 

[1] Exodus 34:6-7

[2] Exodus 33:19

[3] Luke 6:36 NLT

[4] Matthew 9:13, 12:7 NASB

[5] Matthew 15:32, Mark 8:2-3

[6] Matthew 18:27 NKJV

[7] Luke 6:35

[8] Matthew 5:47-48 NLT

[9] Matthew 20:15 NLT

[10] Galatians 5:22

[11] Matthew 11:29

[12] Matthew 18:4

[13] Matthew 23:12, Luke 14:11, 18:14

[14] Matthew 5:5 NLT

[15] Matthew 5:5 NASB, HCS

[16] Matthew 11:29

[17] Galatians 5:23

[18] Luke 21:19 NKJV

[19] Revelation 3:10

[20] Revelation 14:12 NLT

[21] Ephesians 4:2

[22] Galatians 5:22

[23] 2 Peter 3:9

[24] Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27,35

[25] John 13:34, 15:12,17

[26] John 13:35 NLT

[27] 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

[28] Galatians 5:22

[29] 1 John 4:8,16

[30] 1 John 3:16

[31] 1 John 4:10

[32] John 3:16-18

[33] John 10:17 NLT

[34] John 14:31

[35] Colossians 3:14 NLT, ESV

[36] John 17:20-23 NLT

[37] Colossians 3:14 NLT

[38] Colossians 3:14 NASB

[39] Matthew 12:34, Luke 6:45

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