We believe that Jesus is redeeming to Himself a glorious Church that is holy and entirely without blemish; we believe that He will be satisfied with the labor of His soul. But, we also see great confusion and mishandling of the Word of God regarding perfection, which leads to empty expectations, misguided and doomed labors, and disobedience to Jesus’ commandments.
Therefore, we are going to take a look at the bond of perfection:
Colossians 3:12-17 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body. Be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with gratitude in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Christian perfection is measured in terms of love. The apostle John wrote in the same Spirit as Paul and said,
1 John 2:10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
We’re not talking about flesh-empowered love; we’re talking about the love of Jesus Christ that moves within our heart and compels us as brothers and sisters of the Lord.
Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Pure, undefiled love is God’s design for holy and blameless conduct. Jesus’ commandment to His disciples was to love one another, even as He loved them!
Love is the effectual conduct of holiness.
This lesson is undesirable to men and women who are inwardly looking for an occasion to boast in holiness because there is no room for such boasting in godly love (1 Cor. 13:4). Nothing will crucify the flesh more completely than a soul driven by perfect love!
Ephesians 4:1-3 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
The character worthy of our gospel-calling is love exercised by a meek and gentle heart. That is the description of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was the “meek and lowly” love of God manifest to men.
Love certainly mourns: it grieves to see brothers and sisters stumble, it weeps for personal iniquity, but it also restores those who have stumbled, it bears their burdens. Love does not act as an excuse to behave selfishly according to the lustful desires of the flesh, rather, it considers the needs of others above its own and is incapable of trampling underfoot the sacrifice of Christ. Love denies itself, and all the lustful pleasures that entice the flesh, and presses on to lift up holy voices of praise and worship to God! No one who walks in love will sin because “there is no law against love“. Love is wholly and entirely for God, and flows through Him to creation.
Therefore, brethren, hear the exhortation to “put on love, which is the bond of perfection”. Be taught of Christ concerning this in the secret quiet places. Amen!