The Perfect Bond of Unity
The Apostle Paul deeply loved and had great concern for other followers of Jesus in the fledgling first-century church. He wrote many letters of encouragement and instruction to those who were young in the faith.
In Paul’s letter to the house church in Colossae he reminded the members of their life-changing experience in Christ Jesus when he said, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2 NKJV).
He goes on to exhort them to rid themselves of sins and vices unbecoming of Jesus and His character. The next few verses list several “Do not”s and then he transitions to point out some Christ-like virtues that we should strive to attain.
Paul had been informed of issues which were causing division among the members. He had addressed some of those matters earlier in his letter. Now in Colossians Chapter 3, he was speaking about personal relationships among the believers.
Have you seen or experienced disagreements or personality clashes within your church fellowship? I dare say that if the congregation was made up of human beings, your answer is, “Yes.”
Paul then gave some directives to help elevate all the members and to bring the unity desired by God Himself. Paul wrote, “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 do. But above all these things 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; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:12-15 NKJV).
In another version, verse 14 states: “And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity” (Colossians 3:14 NASV).
God’s command for us to love is paramount in His cosmic plan for mankind. When asked for the greatest commandment, Jesus answered, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. ’This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31 NKJV).
Why did Paul say that love is above all other things? It’s because love is the bond of perfection. It is the bond of unity.
Bond is a strong word used to describe one thing being fused to another—thus joined securely. To love one another in this way is to be joined together unconditionally. This agap̵é love is spiritual and selfless, sacrificial and unconditional.
It is through the grace given by the Holy Spirit that a person can have this kind of love and this is why the world (those who are not in Christ) does not understand it.
The word, unity, in Greek, is defined, “perfect, one who reaches a goal. Perfection or perfectness, completeness.”1
So, can you see how agap̵é love among the members of a church fellowship, and among followers of Jesus in the body of Christ as a whole, can be such a force—a bond—that unifies and perfects?
Let’s ponder this love that is put into our hearts by God and imagine how it really could bring unity in the body of Christ. Would the church represent Christ well? Would the church attract more non-Christians? Would this church accomplish great things in the building up of the body of Christ? I believe we would agree that the answer to each of these questions would be a resounding, “Yes!”
As we grow in Christ-likeness we will grow in His kind of love for others. Please join with me in prayer:
Lord God, I ask that You help me to love like Jesus loves. Even when I don’t see eye to eye with my brothers and sisters, help me to give way to Your Spirit to override my personal feelings and allow agapé love to spring up out of my heart—love that is genuine and unconditional. In this, I am doing my part to nurture the perfect bond of unity in the body of Christ. Thank You, Father, for the power of Your grace working in me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
©Copyright 2017 Connie Wohlford
1. The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, 2008, AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN, page 2290.