And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfection.
I. NO CHRISTIAN CHARACTER IS PERFECT WITHOUT LOVE. There may be wide knowledge, stainless purity, and fiery zeal. But the character will be broken and unfinished if the golden grace is missing. This has been singularly forgotten by the Church. Anything but Christian charity has been sought after. In the very zeal for other excellences this one has been trampled underfoot.
II. LOVE IS THE CROWNING CHRISTIAN GRACE. "Above all these things put on love."
1. Love is the highest pinnacle of the Christian temple. Too often the supremacy has been given to orthodoxy, to negative purity, or to rigorous devotion. It has to be learnt that it is better to be heterodox and to love our brethren, than to be sound in doctrine and selfish in heart. It needs also to be more understood that he who denies himself most for his brother stands higher than he who is simply irreproachable in behaviour.
2. Love is thus supreme
(1) because it is of the essential nature of God, who is love;
(2) because it is the source of all other graces;
(3) because in itself it is better than anything else.
III. LOVE BINDS TOGETHER ALL OTHER CHRISTIAN GRACES. Without it the character is not only imperfect, it lacks unity and cohesion. Love is like the keystone of the arch, which beth completes the structure and holds all the other stones together.
1. Love should surround every other grace as the bend surrounds the bundle. Purity, truth, justice, courage, temperance, etc., should all be exercised in love.
2. Love should bring all other graces nearer together. Through love we should realize the relation between generosity and justice, purity and liberty, meekness and courage.
3. Love should make a harmonious whole of the character. The separate sticks become one bundle when tied up together. Love should give unity of spirit and purpose to the whole life.
4. Love should perfect the strength of the Christian character. When all the graces are bound by the bond of love they mutually strengthen one another. Selfishness distracts, divides, and weakens life. The soul that is possessed by love is strong. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.