Grace Family Bible Church

Things to Put On

By: Scott Morton


Colossians 3:12-13

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; [13] Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.


As the Apostle Paul continues to deal with the practical things for the members of the Body of Christ, we see here how the shift in though reflects the things which need to be put on by the believer. This is going be different, as he had been dealing with things in a don't do this approach, but now he is shifting into the things which we do need to do.


As Paul does this he speaks of the believers as being the elect of God. This idea creates a lot of confusion for individuals, as they will take the things which another person has taught on the idea and accept this as the truth, rather than trying to actually understand what the Word of God says about the matter. We will start by looking at how the dictionary defines the idea of the elect:


ELECT', a. Chosen, taken by preference from among two or more. Hence,


1. In theology, chosen as the object of mercy; chosen, selected or designated to eternal life; predestinated in the divine counsels.


2. Chosen, but no inaugurated, consecrated or invested with office; as bishop elect; emperor elect; governor or mayor elect. But in the scriptures, and in theology, this word is generally used as a noun.


ELECT', n. One chosen or set apart; applied to Christ.


Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth. Isaiah 42.


1. Chosen or designated by God to salvation; predestinated to glory as the end, and to sanctification as the means; usually with a plural signification, the elect.


Shall not God avenge his own elect? Luke 18.


If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24.


He shall send his angels--and they shall gather his elect from the four winds. Matthew 24.


2. Chosen; selected; set apart as a peculiar church and people; applied to the Israelites. Isaiah 45.


We can see from this that there is a certain way for the word elect to be defined. However, even the definitions above have been influenced by man's thought process and not what the Word of God says. The definitions above reflect the issue of the elect being given eternal life, therefore indicating it has to do with salvation. While this might look like a good definition initially, there is a major problem which comes up:


Isaiah 42:1

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.


This verse is speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ and identifies Him as being mine elect. He did not need salvation, as He is part of the Godhead. There is nothing which separates Him from God the Father. This verse alone shows how this definition of the elect breaks down.


The issue of being elect is being chosen or separated out for a particular purpose. God has chosen individuals for specific purposes which are related to the plan which had been laid out before the foundation of the world. Four other individuals/groups which are identified as being elect are as follows:


Israel- chosen to reconcile the earth


Isaiah 41:8

But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.


The 12 Apostles- to provide doctrine and judge the nation


Matthew 10:1-4

And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. [2] Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; [3] Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; [4] Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.


The Body of Christ- to reconcile the heavenly places


Ephesians 1:4

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:


The Apostle Paul- to give doctrine for us


Acts 9:15-16

But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: [16] For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.


These passages clearly show God had a plan which had been laid out before the foundation of the world. This plan involved utilizing certain things which would accomplish this, which is why they are seen as being chosen or elect. It has nothing to do with their actual salvation, but the utilization for the purpose which God intended.


Since the members of the Body of Christ are identified as being elect, the Apostle Paul describes us using two more words: holy and beloved. These are two things which can sometimes be hard to see because we look at ourselves and not who we are because of what the Lord Jesus Christ did for us. We have His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21) and are seen this way by God the Father. This is how we can be called holy. This can be seen when we look at Webster's 1828 Dictionary and see the definition of the word holy:


HO'LY, a.

1. Properly, whole, entire or perfect, in a moral sense. Hence, pure in heart, temper or dispositions; free from sin and sinful affections. Applied to the Supreme Being, holy signifies perfectly pure, immaculate and complete in moral character; and man is more or less holy, as his heart is more or less sanctified, or purified from evil dispositions. We call a man holy, when his heart is conformed in some degree to the image of God, and his life is regulated by the divine precepts. Hence, holy is used as nearly synonymous with good, pious, godly.


Be ye holy; for I am holy. 1 Peter 1.


2. Hallowed; consecrated or set apart to a sacred use, or to the service or worship of God; a sense frequent in Scripture; as the holy sabbath; holy oil; holy vessels; a holy nation; the holy temple; a holy priesthood.


3. Proceeding from pious principles, or directed to pious purposes; as holy zeal.


4. Perfectly just and good; as the holy law of God.


5. Sacred; as a holy witness.


Holy of holies, in Scripture, the innermost apartment of the Jewish tabernacle or temple, where the ark was kept, and where no person entered, except the high priest, once a year.


Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, the Divine Spirit; the third person in the Trinity; the sanctifier of souls.


Holy war, a war undertaken to rescue the holy land, the ancient Judea, from the infidels; a crusade; an expedition carried on by Christians against the Saracens in the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries; a war carried on in a most unholy manner.


Looking at this we can see how this is referring to the issue of being set apart. This happens not because of anything which we have done. This is all because of what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished at Calvary:


2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. [17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [18] And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.


We see what we have been given here. We have been made righteous because we have His righteousness. This is why we can be seen as being righteous, holy, beloved, and all of the other things which the Apostle Paul identifies in his epistles. This is radically different from what was given to Israel, as they had to work for the salvation and everything was seen as being theirs. This is also why so many individuals think they have to try to do these things, as they take the passages which are written to Israel and attempt to apply them to themselves.


Paul states we are beloved. This is one of the spiritual blessings which he identifies in Ephesians 1:


Ephesians 1:3-6

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: [4] According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: [5] Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, [6] To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.


Paul states we are accepted in the beloved. Because of our identity with the righteousness of Christ based on believing the gospel, this is how we can be seen.


What we are to put on is the bowels of mercies. This is referring to the deep feelings the believer should have, what would be called the affections. This is going to be because of the Lord Jesus Christ living in us and through us. This does seem to be a strange term for the Apostle Paul to be using from how we would us this term today. The following definitions from Webster's 1828 Dictionary reflect this:

BOW'ELS, n. plu.


1. The intestines of an animal; the entrails, especially of man. The heart. 2 Corinthians 6.12.


2. The interior part of any thing; as the bowels of the earth.


3. The seat of pity or kindness; hence, tenderness, compassion, a scriptural sense.


Bowel, in the singular, is sometimes used for gut.


Our use of this word would reflect mainly the first of these definitions, with some usage of the second one. What the Apostle Paul is referring to is the third definition here, which is dealing with the emotions of the individual. Paul is stating that there needs to be these feelings of mercy towards other individuals. The following two passages show how the Apostle Paul uses this term bowels to show the emotions the believer should be demonstrating:


Philippians 1:8

For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.


2 Corinthians 6:11-13

O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. [12] Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. [13] Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.


These two passages show there are some emotions which we are to demonstrate, which come from the Lord Jesus Christ. As we build up the doctrine for this dispensation in us, we will be able to show these things easier in our interactions with other individuals. This is what the Apostle Paul is hoping is going to happen for us.


The Apostle Paul brings up this is to reflect the issue of mercy. This is something which man truly does not deserve on his own. Webster's 1828 Dictionary shows us what mercy truly is:


MER'CY, n. [L. misericordia.]


1. That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being.


The Lord is long-suffering and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty. Numbers 14.


2. An act or exercise of mercy or favor. It is a mercy that they escaped.


I am not worthy of the least of all thy mercies. Gen 32.


3. Pity; compassion manifested towards a person in distress.


And he said, he that showed mercy on him. Luke 10.


4. Clemency and bounty.


Mercy and truth preserve the king; and his throne is upheld by mercy. Proverbs 28.


5. Charity, or the duties of charity and benevolence.


I will have mercy and not sacrifice. Matthew 9.


6. Grace; favor. 1 Corinthians 7. Jude 2.


7. Eternal life, the fruit of mercy. 2 Timothy 1.


8. Pardon.


I cry thee mercy with all my heart.


9. The act of sparing, or the forbearance of a violent act expected. The prisoner cried for mercy.


To be or to lie at the mercy of, to have no means of self-defense, but to be dependent for safety on the mercy or compassion of another, or in the power of that which is irresistible; as, to be at the mercy of a foe, or of the waves.


We see with these definitions the issue of how the issue of mercy would really be the opposite of wrath. Mankind really deserves the wrath of God because of the transgression on Adam and all of us being born in his image (Genesis 5:3). The solution to this is there had to be mercy shown to us, which can only come from God:


1 Timothy 1:1-2

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; [2] Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.


2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; [4] Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. [5] For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. [6] And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. [7] And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.


Philippians 2:1-2

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, [2] Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.


These two passages show how the Apostle Paul brings up this issue of mercy. This is an important part of what has been demonstrated towards us during this dispensation. There is a mercy which has been shown to us by God, who is the only one that can give this. We don't often think about the fact that mercy has been shown to us.


Man deserves to be separated from God for all of eternity. It is only through what the Lord Jesus Christ has accomplished for us that we are able to have a relationship with God and be able to have access to the blessings which have been provided in this dispensation. This is why individuals who have not put their trust in the gospel message for today (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) will struggle with things, as they feel there is no hope and they can't see the mercy which has been given. This is also what is to be motivating us to share this gospel with others so they have access to the mercy which has been given to man.


The next issue is that of kindness. We are to be kind towards everyone. This is not always easy, as there are those we naturally feel we can be kind to and others which we don't necessarily feel that way. This is because of the natural man, with the way we were raised having the influence on us. There is not a single person who is able to demonstrate kindness towards all 100% of the time in the natural man apart from the things of God. This is why we see the Apostle Paul have to give us the following instruction:


Ephesians 4:31-32

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: [32] And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.


We see the Apostle Paul has to remind the saints in Ephesus to be kind to each other. This is with him contrasting these other things, which tend to be the way the lost treat each other. This is not how the members of the Body of Christ should be acting towards each other.


While this is said specifically about how we interact with the members of the Body of Christ, this principle should extend towards our interactions with all of mankind. We see another example of Paul speaking about this:


Titus 3:3-4

For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. [4] But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,


1 Corinthians 11:1

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.


In the epistle to Titus we see this second reminder about kindness. He speaks about the behavior towards others and then speaks about the kindness of God. This is to be the pattern of how we live, as should have the example of the Lord Jesus Christ as has been revealed to us for this dispensation. This clearly shows us how to live our lives.


The next item on the list of things which the Apostle Paul gives us is the issue of humbleness of mind. This is something which can be tough for individuals as the tendency is to make something of ourselves and demonstrate how good we are and everything we can do. The issue of being humble is that this has nothing to do with who we are. In this case the Apostle Paul is speaking specifically about the things of the mind. It is very clear why he says this, as we are given something which would show this perfectly:


1 Corinthians 2:16

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.


We have the mind of Christ because we have a completed Word of God. We have the instructions which have been given to us for this dispensation through the writings of the Apostle Paul, which is why he is the pattern for us. This is also why he can speak about how we are to allow the Lord Jesus Christ to live in us and through us (Galatians 2:20) and how Timothy was likeminded to Paul (Philippians 2:20), meaning he was doing all of the things which were laid out in the doctrine. We can accomplish this for ourselves if we are able to do the following:


Romans 12:1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.


Utilizing the Word of God, we are to go through a process of where we are renewing our mind. We are to be using the Word in order to get our minds to be closer and closer to what God intends, the mind of Christ. This means we are essentially pushing all of the things of this world, which is controlled by the prince of the power of the air (Satan), out of our minds and put the things of the Word into our mind. This is a process which goes on through our whole lives, is never completed, and needs to happen on a daily basis. This can be a problem for many, as they get to a point where they think they have all the answers and do not need to keep doing this. We need to not lose sight of what we are to do and need to press towards the mark.


The next issue the Apostle Paul brings up is the issue of meekness. This causes problems for many, especially in American society. Having talked with many believers about this issue there is confusion between the issue of meekness and weakness. These are two completely different words. The following definitions come from Webster's 1828 Dictionary to show this:


MEE'KNESS, n. Softness of temper; mildness; gentleness; forbearance under injuries and provocations.


1. In an evangelical sense, humility; resignation; submission to the divine will, without murmuring or peevishness; opposed to pride, arrogance and refractoriness. Gal 5.


I beseech you by the meekness of Christ. 1 Corinthians 10.


Meekness is a grace which Jesus alone inculcated, and which no ancient philosopher seems to have understood or recommended.




1. Want of physical strength; want of force or vigor; feebleness; as the weakness of a child; the weakness of an invalid; the weakness of a wall or bridge, or of thread or cordage.


2. Want of sprightliness.


Soft, without weakness; without glaring, gay.


3. Want of steadiness.


By such a review, we shall discern and strengthen our weaknesses.


4. Infirmity; unhealthiness; as weakness of constitution.


5. Want of moral force or effect upon the mind; as the weakness of evidence; the weakness of arguments.


6. Want of judgment; feebleness of mind; foolishness.


All wickedness is weakness.


7. Defect; failing; fault; with a plural.


Many take pleasure in spreading abroad the weaknesses of an exalted character.


These two definitions show how these words are completely different, even though people tend to make them equal. We are not to be weak, as we have the Word of God to strengthen us in the things which we do. We are to be meek, as it is not us who are responsible for things. It is the Lord Jesus Christ working in us and through us that allows us to do the things which are pleasing unto God (Galatians 2:20). This is why we are told we are to be meek, as it is not us and we cannot allow our pride to be attempting to influence who we are and what we do. When we are functioning properly according to the Word of God the meekness will be there:


Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.


We can see from this passage how meekness is part of the fruit of the Spirit. This is part of the entire package (which is going to be important when we deal with the next item the Apostle Paul brings up in the list) which is there when the Word is working in us. This is why it cannot be said that we are doing anything on our own.


The natural man likes to build up the self in order to appear to be righteous and pleasing unto God. This is why the Bible speaks about how the righteousness of man is as filthy rags in the sight of God, as we cannot do the things which would merit a righteous standing in His eyes. We are reliant on what God has done, which is where the true meekness which we are to have comes from.


The next item on the list is longsuffering. This is another item which most people would rather not have on the list, as it means we are to be suffering. Paul tells us this is going to be the case:


Philippians 1:29

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;


When we are doing the things God's Word lays out for us, the suffering is going to come. This is why it was listed as part of the fruit of the Spirit in the passage from Galatians 5. When there is not the suffering present it means we are not doing what God intends. There is a suffering which is specific to our stand for what the Word of God says to us and we are to be prepared to be able to face the things which are to come. The good news is God does not leave us without the proper means to be able to handle these situations:


Romans 5:1-5

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. [3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; [4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope: [5] And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.


The Apostle Paul speaks about how there is a process which the individual goes through in their life as they are encountering these things causing problems. Through being able to get through these things successfully in their life, it starts to build up the patience, experience, and hope in their life. It does not mean that if someone is praying for patience that God is going to give them tribulation in order to gain this (there are many people who think this way and it has an impact on their prayer life). Paul is giving us the knowledge from the Word of God in order for us to be able to understand how this works and to be able to be prepared for this through the Word.


We also see how the Apostle Paul shows us where it is that the comfort we are to have comes from:


2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; [4] Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. [5] For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. [6] And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. [7] And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.


Paul states here that the comfort we are to be seeking comes from God, who provides comfort in all of our tribulation. Individuals will often seek comfort from everywhere else but turning to God for it. While there are other things which can provide temporary help with the problems we are facing, it is God who is able to comfort us. The purpose is so we can be able to help others find this comfort, which comes from God, who has provided His Word so we can find it. This is why the Apostle Paul in the same epistle can identify how he was told that God's grace was sufficient to be able to get through these problems (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).


This does not mean that we are to avoid everything else in our lives. There are many good things out there which can provide assistance to individuals as they are going through problems in their life. The issue is we are to be relying on God as the primary source for the comfort we are to have.


We also can see how Paul shows us an important truth which is associated with going through problems in our life:


2 Timothy 2:11-13

It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: [12] If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: [13] If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.


From this passage we see a couple of important truths for believers. One of these is the issue of the result of the suffering which we go through. This suffering is going to give us the ability to reign with Him in the heavenly places. This preparation is important, as it results from us following the doctrine which has been given to us in this dispensation. We can choose to do the right things or the wrong things in this area.


The second of these is the issue of our salvation. This is not what is being denied, as the verses clearly indicate He is going to remain (abide) faithful. Because He is faithful, He cannot deny any member of the Body of Christ. This is why we have been sealed with that holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13-14), as this is the guarantee of the salvation which has been promised to us.


The next issue the Apostle Paul brings up in this passage is the issue of forbearing one another. As we have done with many of the words in this study, let's look at what Webster's 1828 Dictionary says:


FORBEAR, v.i. pret. forbore; pp. forborne.


1. To stop; to cease; to hold from proceeding; as, forbear to repeat these reproachful words.


2. To pause; to delay; as, forbear a while.


3. To abstain; to omit; to hold one's self from motion or entering on an affair.


Shall I go against Ramoth Gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? 1 Kings 22.


4. To refuse; to decline.


Whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.


Ezekiel 2.


5. To be patient; to restrain from action or violence. Proverbs 25:15.



1. To avoid voluntarily; to decline.


Forbear his presence.


2. To abstain from; to omit; to avoid doing. Learn from the scriptures what you ought to do and what to forbear.


Have we not power to forbear working? 1 Corinthians 9.


3. To spare; to treat with indulgence and patience.


Forbearing one another in love. Ephesians 4.


4. To withhold.


Forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not. 2 Chronicles 35.


We can see from these definitions the issue of forbearing has to do with our interactions with other individuals. In our relationships with others there will be times when things go well and there will be times when things do not go as well as they should. During these times when things are not going as well is when we are going to have to demonstrate this forbearance. This means we are going to be delaying our reactions to the things which happen. This is important because when we are acting in the heat of the moment we are usually going to react in a manner which is going to have a negative impact on the other individual. This is why we see the Apostle Paul state the following:


Ephesians 4:1-3

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, [2] With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; [3] Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.


When we are acting in this manner we are demonstrating love towards others, which is what we are to do in this dispensation. The natural reaction most of the time is to react in a manner which is not demonstrating this love, which has an impact on the relationship we have with them and leads to some sort of separation. We are not to do this and the Apostle Paul gives warnings about this as well:


1 Corinthians 12:14-26

For the body is not one member, but many. [15] If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? [16] And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? [17] If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? [18] But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. [19] And if they were all one member, where were the body? [20] But now are they many members, yet but one body. [21] And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. [22] Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: [23] And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. [24] For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: [25] That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. [26] And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.


Galatians 6:1-2

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. [2] Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.


These two passages show how it is we are to be dealing with other members of the Body of Christ. We are to be looking to be able to restore individuals who have been taken in a fault. Paul instructs we are not to be looking to permanently separate ourselves from individuals, as this is not how a body works. He tells us the head (the Lord Jesus Christ) cannot say to the foot (what we would say is lowest part of the body) that there is no need of them and to permanently cut them off. If He cannot do so, what makes us think we have the ability to do so? This is why we are told we have to forbear individuals as they are doing certain things.


This does not mean we are to be endorsing things people are doing or teaching. There are instructions about separating from those who are teaching things contrary to the doctrine for today, after the first and second admonition. This means there are a number of discussions which you personally are having with the individual in order to restore them, which finally leads to this action. It is not hearing this person is teaching something and publicly telling people to avoid them because of it without having had a single conversation with them. This does not demonstrate any of the things which the Apostle Paul has told us to do related to the ability to forbear one another.


Associated with the issue of being able to forbear one another is the issue of forgiving other individuals. We should be able to forgive individuals when they do wrong, as we have already received forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32), which is the pattern for us to forgive. We are not to follow Israel's pattern of forgiving in order to receive forgiveness.


This can be a difficult thing as the things that were done wrong may have caused a lot of problems. This is where the grace of God helps us to be able to demonstrate this love towards the other individual in order to be able to truly forgive them for what they have done. This is the demonstration of charity, which the next section will be starting with.