Monday, September 29, 2014

Unified for Grace

Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love , which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body.  Colossians 3:13-15. NRSV

One of the most difficult offices Christians are called to perform is to forgive, especially when someone has done something very wrong and hurtful, and the offender does not recognize or admit to the offense.  In the scripture verses above, Paul instructs the believers that forgiveness is imperative if we are to accept God's grace.  Forgiveness is an ongoing process of grace, and Paul tells us in the next two verses, how we can keep this process of forgiveness going.

Paul  encourages us to bind ourselves together in love. Essentially, Paul is saying that we need to identify ourselves as a group, and we need love to keep us together and peace to govern us. 
Paul then inserts a little phrase, "to which you were indeed called in the one body."  The NRSV translation notes indicate that the word "called" has the same meaning as chosen.  God chose us, individually and as a group, to demonstrate His grace and forgiveness through the love and peace that we show to each other.  Our unity, being bound together in love, and being governed by peace, is what gives us the strength to and motivation to continue to forgive others.  It is through this forgiveness that God is able to show grace to the world.