But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (Col 3:14 KJV)
This verse is so intriguing to me that I had to look at it in a few other versions of the Bible:
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (NIV)
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. (KJV)
Beyond all these things put on and wrap yourselves in [unselfish] love, which is the perfect bond of unity [for everything is bound together in agreement when each one seeks the best for others]. (AMP)
The phrase that has always fascinated me is “bond of perfection.” I always wanted to know what that meant, because it sounds so beautiful to me, therefore I studied it.
Seeing the verse in several different versions helped me. But I also wanted to see what past Bible scholars had to say about it. Here’s what the Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Commentary on Colossians 3 says:
bond of perfectness–an upper garment which completes and keeps together the rest, which, without it, would be loose and disconnected. Seeming graces, where love is wanting, are mere hypocrisy. Justification by faith is assumed as already having taken place in those whom Paul addresses, Col 3:12, “elect of God, holy. . . beloved,” and Col 2:12; so that there is no plea here for Rome’s view of justification by works. Love and its works “perfect,” that is, manifest the full maturity of faith developed (Mat 5:44, 48). Love. . . be ye perfect, &c. (Jam 2:21, 22 1Jo 2:5). “If we love one another, God’s love is perfected in us” (Rom 13:8 1Cr 13:1-13 1Ti 1:5 1Jo 4:12). As to “bond,” compare Col 2:2, “knit together in love” (Eph 4:3), “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
I like what the JFB Commentary had to say about “seeming graces” that are without love—they’re hypocrisy. My understanding is that the only way to be able to operate out of genuine, God-motivated love is to have thoroughly and deeply experienced the love of God yourself, personally.
As I mentioned in my blog posted on 03/31/2016 (Do Everything With Love), “Because we are loved by God, we have the grace to love others even as we are loved. God’s love enables us to forgive. His love gives us the wherewithal to extend mercy and understanding to others, not returning evil for evil, but on the contrary—blessing them.”
This is the type of love that opens the eyes of the unsaved to their need for their Savior. This kind of love changes situations and brings glory to God. This love is the “upper garment” which unifies us as believers and unifies all of the other gifts of God within us, as we use them for His glory. It means desiring the best and highest good for everyone that we know, and for everyone with whom we interact.
The love that is the bond of perfection is in you, my friend! Use it and shine for Jesus today.