May 6, 2014
The ability to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, and etcetera actually parallels the depth of relationship a person has with Jesus. Religion places so much stress on the outward appearance of a person’s actions, it creates a lack of internal peace with God which prevents these qualities from developing in a person.
Colossians 3:12-13a “12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another…”
If Christians could grasp this concept in verse 12 we all could draw more people into the church. I have said this often and will say this now, “the United Stated is never more segregated than it is on Sunday mornings”. The other sad thing is because of misunderstandings of grace over rules and regulations, there seems to be a harshness of many Christians toward people in the world and other denominations. Have we missed the verse “the goodness of God leads to repentance”, Romans 2:4. The word “therefore” is a reflection of what has just been said. You used to be a “son of disobedience” and absent from God. You have been given a new spirit in Christ Jesus and there is no more separation between the children of God as in the day of the Jews (Colossians 3:7-11).
We are the “elect of God” which means we did not do anything worthy of receiving what follows. Since every person is elected by the grace of God only (Romans 9:11 & John 3:16-18), we must extend the same grace toward other Christians and people we cross paths with in the world. Remember God hates the sin, but loves the sinner. We must remember that we are holy only because He is holy and we are loved before we become saved and we most of all we must remember that we were elected not for our goodness, but because of His purpose (2 Timothy 1:9). Notice how Paul says we are to “put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;” instead of saying we are to develop these character traits. This is another indication of how we are to wrap our actions and attitudes into a “coat” and wear them always. Every human is capable of these character traits or God would have not told us to walk in them. Everyone exhibits these character traits at one time or another depending on the circumstances, but God is saying make them your constant outer garment.
For starters “Mercy” is not just being kind and tender to your friends and loved ones; it is compassionate treatment of an enemy and the disposition to be kind to the same. Kindness is not much different than mercy and in 1 Corinthians 13:4 the word charity is used in the KJV and translated into love in the NKJV “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up”. Remember this was extended to us before we were born again. Humility is not humiliation but rather humbleness of mind, putting others first. Humility is the “prized” characteristic of a Christian and the only antidote for pride. We are encouraged to walk in humility from the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. Paul does the same in Ephesians 4:2 and Philippians 2:3 and Peter tells us to “be clothed” in humility in 1 Peter 5:5. Meekness is NOT weakness but rather a fruit of the Holy Spirit as explained in Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law”. Long-suffering is not suffering for long periods of time. The Greek word for long-suffering is MAKROTHUMIA and according to Thayer, it means “patience, endurance, consistence, steadfastness, and perseverance”. The Greek word for forbearance is to hold up, sustain, and endure. In modern vernacular we would say “to put up with” and it is typically used in the negative tense, “I am not going to put up with your attitude”. Forgiveness should be the premier character trait of every Christian, providing they understand that God’s forgiveness toward them was unconditional and had nothing to do with what good they did.
Read these following verses from Ephesians and 1 Corinthians to help understand Colossians 3:12-12.
Ephesians 4:1-3 “1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a “4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never fails”. These character traits should be the foundational character traits of every Christian. They are exactly the same traits of God and He has not only extended them to us, He has given us the power and ability to walk in them daily. Unless a Christian is able to exhibit these traits, they will never be able to show the “goodness of God that leads to repentance” (Romans 2:4).
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