Friday, March 18, 2011

Love for the Saints, Love in the Spirit

Who also declared to us your love in the Spirit. (Colossians 1:8)

In verse 4, Paul gave thanks to God for the believers in Colosse, for their faith, their hope and their “love for all the saints.” Not just for their own little group, but for all the saints. Love does not take offense, keep score or bear grudges. There is no place for unforgiveness in love.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
How does that happen? Where do we find that kind of love with which to love everyone that way? Paul leads us to an the answer. In verse 7-8, he speaks of Epaphras, one of their own, who “declared to us your love in the Spirit.” Paul presents us with two aspects of love. Where verse 4 speaks of the object of their, “all the saints,” verse 8 identifies the source of their love, “the Spirit.”

Love is the “fruit of the Spirit,” Paul tells us (Galatians 5:22). Now, fruit is not something that you clip on to the branches of a tree; it arises from the life of the tree. That is the way it is with love; it arises from the Spirit of God within us. “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15). We become the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16). As we yield ourselves to God and allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, God brings forth the fruit of the Spirit, which is the character of Jesus, in our lives. Now it is possible for us to love in a way and with a depth we never could before.

A word about saints: They are not elite or super spiritual, just everyday believers in Jesus the Messiah, from the greatest to the least of them — without any consideration of greatness or leastness. To be a saint means to be sanctified, to be holy, which is to say, set apart as God’s own. The believers at Colosse came to have love for all the saints.

The Focus of Our Faith
The Focus of Our Faith
Paul’s Letters to the Jesus Believers at Colosse
Bite-Size Studies Through Colossians
by Jeff Doles

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