I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love,
Love is the final quality, which embraces the preceding four: humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance.
Love is the crown and sum of all virtues. Paul’s extended definition of love in 1Co 13 includes all the fruit of the Spirit in Gal 5, which lists love first. These are the five foundation stones of Christian unity. If they are absent, then no structure can create unity.
No unity is pleasing to God that is not the child of charity (love).
The contrast between this and the current outward behavior of some in our nation is striking. We would have to conclude that the hate we see had already been latent in their souls, and now has found a form of expression that has no reprisal.
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" 27 And he answered and said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." 28 And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live." 29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Jesus replied and said, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went off leaving him half dead. 31 "And by chance a certain priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 "And likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 "But a certain Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him, and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 "And on the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.' 36 "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?" 37 And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."
Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 "For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a certain king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 "And when he had begun to settle them, there was brought to him one who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 "But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 "The slave therefore falling down, prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will repay you everything.' 27 "And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. 28 "But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.' 29 "So his fellow slave fell down and began to entreat him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.' 30 "He was unwilling however, but went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. 31 "So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. 32 "Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you entreated me. 33 'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, even as I had mercy on you?' 34 "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 "So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."
Hatred for others is derived from hatred of God and self.
"For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. 9 "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name. 10 "And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another. 11 "And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. 12 "And because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. 13 "But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved. 14 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.
Lawlessness - anomia = without law. When lawlessness abounds, people’s love will grow cold.
But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.
I use this passage to show the hatred that dwells in mankind, regardless of the age. In every generation it surrounds believers. Of course, there is more of it in some places than in others, but it is always everywhere to some degree. I don’t want to put a spotlight on hatred, but to only point out its contrast to the love of God that is to be the life worthy of our calling.
Such men, filled with cold hearts and hatred have always been. In some periods of time, like our own, they have been given license to exercise their hatred and publically call it good. Whether it was the time leading up the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD., or any persecution of truth and love during any fascist regime since, or the leading up to the great Tribulation, men who hate God, and so hate themselves, have turned their hatred onto Christians and the truth. These stand in great contrast to our own humility and gentleness accompanied by patience and mutual forbearance and tolerance.
In every segment of history in which lawlessness abounds in a people, a family, community, state or nation, some men’s hearts grow cold. Since Christians still possess the flesh within, it can happen to them. As believers serve and witness to the world and only see hate and unbelief in return, they can also grow cold, losing compassion and benevolence to their enemies. Christ warned us of this in His Sermon, bidding us to do good to our enemies, to love them, to pray for them, to go over and beyond for them, leaving the results in God’s hands. That’s why I refer to 2TH 3:13 - “don’t grow weary in doing good.”
Paul is a prisoner of the Lord, and ambassador in chains and we are not, currently.
Yet the life that is worthy of God’s calling remains fixed in spite of circumstances. We must hear God’s exhortation to keep our eyes fixed.
We have to set our minds to understand these words and be determined to apply their meaning to one another. When we do, the Holy Spirit will empower us, making them a reality.
Gentleness and patience are a part of the fruit of the Spirit.
Having such a mind toward one another, trusting in the Holy Spirit alone to be the furnace burning in the inner man, we would experience the most wonderful unity despite personal likes and tastes.
By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, despite our backgrounds, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Certain practical consequences follow from our all being baptized by on Spirit, despite who we are by physical birth.
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.
Through Christ we have fulfilled the law, but that wouldn’t mean that we were released from the obligation to love one another, but rather that we should love as He does.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, " You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.