Grace Family Bible Church

Above all these things

By: Scott Morton


Colossians 3:14

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. [15] And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.


As we move into the next section of this epistle, we see the Apostle Paul stating there is something which needs to be put on above all of these things which had been mentioned in the previous verses. The item which needs to be put on is charity. This is a word which the meaning from what is rendered here in the King James Bible. The usual definition of the word today is related to some organization or someone stating they are giving to charity. The following from Webster's 1828 Dictionary shows what the true idea of this word actually means, as we focus on the first couple of definitions which are listed (all of them are provided to give a context.




1. In a general sense, love, benevolence, good will; that disposition of heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow men to think favorably of their fellow men, and to do them good. In a theological sense, it includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men.


1 Cor 8. Col 3. 1 Tim 1.


2. In a more particular sense, love, kindness, affection, tenderness, springing from natural relations; as the charities of father, son and brother.


3. Liberality to the poor, consisting in almsgiving or benefactions, or in gratuitous services to relieve them in distress.


4. Alms; whatever is bestowed gratuitously on the poor for their relief.


5. Liberality in gifts and services to promote public objects of utility, as to found and support bible societies, missionary societies, and others.


6. Candor; liberality in judging of men and their actions; a disposition which inclines men to think and judge favorably, and to put the best construction on words and actions which the case will admit. The highest exercise of charity, is charity towards the uncharitable.


7. Any act of kindness, or benevolence; as the charities of life.


8. A charitable institution. Charity-school, is a school maintained by voluntary contributions for educating poor children.


The issue of charity can be put into perspective as love in action. This is the difference between the emotion (love) and what we do with the emotion (charity). The believer is to put on the things of charity, as we are to be demonstrating this love towards other individuals. We see this is one of the things which would abide when the gifts ceased:


1 Corinthians 13:8-13

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. [10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. [11] When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. [12] For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. [13] And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.


This passage is used at many weddings and is known by many as the 'love chapter'. most of the modern versions on the market change the word charity to love because of the common use of the word charity today. By doing so, they change the meaning of the passage because it is more than just the emotion which needs to be in place.


We are to be working towards having this charity be part of our lives, meaning this should be reflected in our interactions with others. The Apostle Paul holds up individuals as the example of charity in what they do:


1 Thessalonians 1:3

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;


2 Thessalonians 1:3-4

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; [4] So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:


In these passages we see the Apostle Paul holding up the saints in Thessalonica as patterns for the believers. He speaks in the first epistle to them of their labor of love, which would be a phrase which would describe charity. He then makes it very clear in the second epistle where it is called their charity toward each other. This is a pattern for all of us to follow and would reflect what the Apostle Paul is saying to the assembly in Colossae.


1 Corinthians 14:1

Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.


Here the Apostle Paul, as he is starting a new section in the epistle, is going to connect it with what he has just said about charity. They are going to need to follow after charity if they are going to be following the doctrine which has been given for this dispensation. Even though he is giving them instructions on how the gifts will be manifested while they are still in existence, Paul is telling individuals how to function by following after charity.


1 Timothy 4:12

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.


As the Apostle Paul is speaking to Timothy and attempting to give him encouragement in functioning as an elder, we see Paul having to speak about not letting his youth be a barrier. In order to have this happen, Paul is telling him to be an example in a number of areas to believers. This would allow them to see the proper way the Word functions in the life of a believer, which should cause people to follow the example. One of these areas to be the example in is charity. By extending this out, we are to be examples unto other believers of the charity which the Word demonstrates.


2 Timothy 2:21-22

If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. [22] Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.


As we are to be the vessel unto honor in the eyes of God, we demonstrate this through our performance according to the doctrine which has been given to us. There are certain lusts of the flesh which the believer is to avoid, which have been mentioned all throughout Paul's epistles. There are certain things which we are to be following instead. One of these is the issue of charity, which we have been seeing these examples of.


2 Timothy 3:10-11

But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, [11] Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.


Paul tells Timothy he has known these various things about him. Timothy had ministered with Paul for years, traveling with him, and knew the things of the doctrine. Paul said about Timothy he had no man likeminded who would care for the saints in Philippi (2 Timothy 2:20). He is using these things listed as a reminder to Timothy of what he needs to do in order to be functioning properly and demonstrating the doctrine as part of the practical sanctification which is to be there.


Titus 2:1-2

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: [2] That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.


There is an issue of needing sound doctrine in order to function properly. We are not to be making things up ourselves, but are to be following what God intends for us to do. As we are doing this, we are gaining the experience needed to be considered part of the group Paul is referring to here as the aged men. These individuals have been influenced by the doctrine in a manner where charity is part of their everyday life. This is why they are to be instructing others, as they can help them to be able to be doing the exact same thing.


Philippians 1:9

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;


As members of the Body of Christ put on the things which we are supposed to, we will be able to see the love abounding in our lives, which is shown by how we are treating others. This happens through the knowledge we have gained by studying the Word and applying the doctrine to our lives.


One of the things we see with the issue of this charity being demonstrated is that it is the end of commandments. We see the Apostle Paul instructing this in several passages:


1 Timothy 1:3-5

As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, [4] Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. [5] Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:


Romans 13:8-10

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. [9] For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [10] Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.


Galatians 5:13-14

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. [14] For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.


These three passages show how the Apostle Paul is stating the issue of charity/love is the end of any sort of law. The law had told people how to behave which generated fear of being chastised as the motivation to do the right thin. Under grace, we see the demonstration of God's love towards us. This love is what now motivates individuals to do the right things towards other individuals in the demonstration of love.


The immediate reaction for individuals reading these passages is to state we are not under the law, we have never been under the law, and therefore these passages could not actually apply to us in any manner. While it is true that we are not under the law, as the Lord Jesus Christ is the end of the law for us in this dispensation, we also know that He fulfilled the righteousness of the law. This is why we look towards what He did for us and the love which was demonstrated towards us:


Romans 5:6-8

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. [8] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.


This passage from the book of Romans shows how He died for the ungodly in a demonstration of love towards mankind. This is what is to be the motivation for us to be living a life where we are showing the charity towards other individuals, which is what the Apostle Paul is stating we need to be putting on. He also gives us the information which we need in order to understand how it is we are to be showing it:


Galatians 5:16-23

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. [17] For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. [18] But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. [19] Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, [20] Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, [21] Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.


In this passage we see a contrast which is made between walking in the Spirit (which would show the fruit of the Spirit) and giving into the lust of the flesh (things contrary to what God would have us to do today). The problem for many is they give into the things of the flesh continually and do not show the things of the Spirit in their life. Looking at the list of things which are labeled as the works of the flesh, we can see how these show a lack of love towards other individuals. If this charity was being demonstrated, they would not do these things, which is why love is listed as the first part of the fruit of the Spirit. This is what the rest of it is built upon. This is why the Apostle Paul continues in the book to describe the love which is to be shown:


Galatians 6:10

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.


Here the Apostle Paul is speaking about how the love which we should be showing in our lives needs to be directed towards all men. This truly means we are to loving towards all individuals and cannot be picking and choosing. It is hard sometimes to do this. The natural man, reflecting the things we knew before our salvation, plays a role in this and can influence how we feel and react towards other individuals. The world system is really set up to divide individuals instead of bringing them together and has a negative influence in this realm as well. We need to be applying Biblical principles in our lives to ensure we are doing this. The Apostle Paul speaks in Ephesians 2:19 about how we are part of the household of God, which is something the Gentiles would not have been able to say prior to the message which was given to him.


Paul also brings up about how this is especially true regarding those who are saved (the household of faith). These are the individuals we are going to be spending eternity with and the ones we are to be ministering with. This can only work properly if we are truly demonstrating this aspect of love.


The world will also look at how we treat those who are part of the local assembly and believe like us. If we cannot show this love towards those who are likeminded, how could we possibly show it towards others. This can be the difference at times of individuals trusting what we are saying to them or rejecting what we are trying to share with them.


Acts 14:21-23

And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, [22] Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. [23] And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.


We see from this passage an example of how the Apostle Paul was ministering as he was going into these areas. The first thing he did was preach the gospel to those in the city. The purpose for this was to have them accept the gospel and become part of the believers. This is the ultimate expression of care for other individuals, as you are showing the care for where they will spend eternity.


Once this has been accomplished, then the movement was onto the other things which will help to being someone to the knowledge of the truth. This is where we see the edification (the building up of the doctrine in these individuals), exhortation (encouragement in order to continue in these things when times are tough), and eldership (raising up other individuals in order to continue the ministry) takes place. These are needed in order to make sure the Body of Christ keeps going. There is a time coming when this dispensation will end because of the failures to be teaching this message. It is the responsibility we have to make sure this does not happen (2 Timothy 2:2).


As the Apostle Paul describes the issue of charity he calls it the bond of perfectness. The meaning of this word is completeness. This is how we can be complete in our life is by demonstrating the charity which we have been looking at. Paul identifies for us how we are seen as being perfect:


Colossians 2:10

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:


We are complete because we have been identified in the Lord Jesus Christ. The moment we put our trust in the gospel message we were identified with Him and we have received His righteousness. This is why we are seen as being accepted, as He is accepted. This is why we are allowing the Lord Jesus Christ to live through us so we can demonstrate these things.


These are hard things for individuals to really grasp, as this is not what is taught by most of Christianity today. When individuals are being told they have to do good works to either earn or maintain their salvation, they could never see themselves as being complete. They are always trying to attain these things, and end up feeling like a failure when they are not able to do these things.


Ephesians 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:


Here is where we see the Apostle Paul bringing up the issue of the spiritual blessings which we have received. These are already a present possession for us and he lists a bunch of different things in this chapter which are part of who we are. All of this is what is to be motivating the members of the Body of Christ. There is no longer the issue of fear which motivates us, but rather the demonstration of love which was show towards all of mankind.


We are also to be letting the peace of God rule in our hearts. Let's look at what this word means:




1. In a general sense, a state of quiet or tranquillity; freedom from disturbance or agitation; applicable to society, to individuals, or to the temper of the mind.


2. Freedom from war with a foreign nation; public quiet.


3. Freedom from internal commotion or civil war.


4. Freedom from private quarrels, suits or disturbance.


5. Freedom from agitation or disturbance by the passions, as from fear, terror, anger, anxiety or the like; quietness of mind; tranquillity; calmness; quiet of conscience.


Great peace have they that love the law. Psa 119.


6. Heavenly rest; the happiness of heaven.


7. Harmony; concord; a state of reconciliation between parties at variance.


8. Public tranquillity; that quiet, order and security which is guaranteed by the laws; as, to keep the peace; to break the peace.


This word is used in commanding silence or quiet; as, peace to this troubled soul.


Peace, the lovers are asleep.


To be at peace, to be reconciled; to live in harmony.


To make peace, to reconcile, as parties at variance.


To hold the peace, to be silent; to suppress one's thoughts; not to speak.


When we look at what man actually deserves from God we can see that peace really would not be the idea. Because of the fall of Adam and the fact that man is born in the image of Adam, we would deserve the wrath of God. The only way we can have peace is to have our identity changed. We have to be seen in the last Adam, which is how we, as the members of the Body of Christ, are identified. This is why we can see the issue of peace. Paul identifies the fact that grace and peace has been extended to us in each of his epistles. He identifies how we are not going to be facing the wrath of God:


1 Thessalonians 1:10

And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.


1 Thessalonians 5:9

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,


These two verses from 1Thessalonians show the fact we are not going to be facing the wrath of God, which is known as the Day of the Lord. It is a glorious thing to realize we are going to taken away from here prior to this happening. We can rest assured in the fact we will not be here, even though there are many who focus on these prophecies and try to indicate we are seeing things happen today which match up with these events. This cannot be the case and we know the reality of what has been promised for us.


Since we know that we have peace that has come from God, we should be letting this have an impact on who we are. The Apostle Paul explains how peace should be influencing us as we go about our daily lives:


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.


When we read a passage like this it can cause some people to get discouraged. They see these things and start to think about how they are to deal with problems. They can see the struggles they have to accomplish this and feel like they have failed. Individuals are often trying to rely on themselves or the things of this world to solve their problems. If the peace is coming from God, then it is going to be the things of God which is going to help us get through them. This is why the Apostle Paul was told that God's grace was sufficient for him to get through the situation he was facing (2 Corinthians 12:9). There was nothing else Paul could rely on, which we have seen as we have studied this epistle.


When we read Paul's epistles we can see how the issue of peace is reflected in them. He begins every epistle with the issue of grace and peace, including the issue of mercy in the Pastoral epistles. This was more than just a way of him saying hello to the fellow believers. Paul uses these terms to show what has been extended to man during this dispensation.


As Paul continues on he speaks about the issue of there being one body:


Ephesians 4:4-6

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; [5] One Lord, one faith, one baptism, [6] One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.


These are the seven unities which are true of all believers during this dispensation. One of these is speaking about how there is one body. This is important to note, as there are some who teach there was one body at the beginning of this dispensation (Acts period) and a different body once the book of Acts was completed. Paul makes it clear there is one body and uses the term body throughout his epistles, speaking of what we are. We were made part of the Body of Christ the moment we put our trust in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).


Paul identifies the truth of what happened here:


1 Corinthians 12:12-13

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. [13] For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.


We are baptized by the Spirit and placed into the Body. This automatically happens and we don't even feel it or realize it has happened without the Word of God telling us this has happened. The members of the Body are sealed (Ephesians 1:13-14) to keep us in this position, guaranteeing our salvation.


Paul also speaks of the reconciliation which has happened:


Ephesians 2:13-17

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.


We see how the Apostle Paul identifies this fact. There has been a reconciliation which has occurred to where all individuals today are placed into the Body of Christ as soon as they believe the gospel. There is no distinction which would be made, which is something which was seen in time past, as God was only dealing with Israel and individuals had to join themselves to Israel to have salvation, but would still be looked at in a manner as being less than. All individuals today who are save are on equal footing and are considered as one in the eyes of God. This is why the Apostle Paul refers to this being called in one body.


The last things he brings up in this passage is the issue of being thankful. We can see the definition of thankfulness which shows the importance of this in our lives:


THANK'FULNESS,n. Expression of gratitude; acknowledgment of a favor.


1. Gratitude; a lively sense of good received.


The celebration of these holy mysteries being ended, retire with all thankfulness of heart for having been admitted to that heavenly feast.


This is the attitude all members of the Body of Christ should have and what we should be demonstrating in our lives. We see this being tied in with prayer many times when Paul speaks of these things:


1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

Pray without ceasing. [18] In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.


Colossians 4:2

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;


Philippians 4:6-7

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


These three passages are examples of how the Apostle Paul has been teaching these things. The issue of being thankful comes up associated with prayer, as we are praying for all things. The members of the Body of Christ should be thankful for everything that has been done for us.


It can be hard at times to be thankful, especially when things are not going well and we are turning to God in prayer. While we may not be thankful for the circumstances we are in at that particular time, we can be thankful for the things which God has accomplished for us, ensuring that we are going to be with Him in the heavenly places for all eternity. This is truly something which any member of the Body of Christ would be able to say they were thankful for.


Colossians 3:16-17

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 grace in your hearts to the Lord. [17] And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.


We can see how the Apostle Paul is informing the individuals of this local assembly of this same issue. He is telling them they are to be thankful to God in all things they are doing, which would truly have an impact on what it is we are doing in our life. There are multiple times in Paul's epistles where he instructs us to follow him in the same manner he was following the Lord Jesus Christ. He followed Christ through the doctrine which was given to him, which is recorded in Romans through Philemon. We are to be following this same information in order to be pleasing unto God.


For many individuals who are not saved, they will see how we are living our lives as the first indication of what the grace of God is doing in this dispensation. This is why we have the following instruction given to us:


Philippians 2:14-16

Do all things without murmurings and disputings: [15] That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; [16] Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.


The description given of the world is being a crooked and perverse nation. It does not take much to realize this is how the world is really seen in the eyes of God. There is nothing good of the world we are living in. It is why the Apostle Paul speaks of us not being conformed to the world, but we are to have a transformation by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:1-2). We have this occur by our intake of the Word of God, studying it rightly divided, and then our mind is slowly transformed. This is a process which occurs over the course of our lifetime.


The life we are living is to be influenced by the doctrine taken in. if we are applying the information found in Romans through Philemon, then we will actually be functioning in the manner where we would be lights unto this world. We would be showing individuals what God intends for us to do and how grace can impact the life of an individual today. This is what would be pleasing unto God (1 Thessalonians 2:4).


One final passage which would show us how it is we are to be living our life today:


Ephesians 5:14-17

Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. [15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [17] Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.


Here we have the Apostle Paul speaking of our life (walk) and speaking of how we are to be doing this carefully (circumspectly) and making sure we are following the doctrine given to us and the pattern of Paul. The time we are living in is evil, as it is opposed to everything which God stands for. As members of the Body of Christ, we need to make sure we are not falling into the trap which has been set for us by Satan to be conformed to this world.