Love is our Livery

A series on love, Part 1

Col. 3:14 “…put on love…”

Are you known in your circle of friends and relations as a Christian? Do the people at the supermarket where you shop and the club where you work out and the people on your commute look at you and know you are a Christian?

Should they? In the OT the people of God were known as the people of God because of their dress (tassels, beard curls, cloth and cut of their robes, etc.) They were also known by their behavior amongst outsiders and by their speech. How are the NT believers known as the people of God if all of the clothing and purity laws have been fulfilled in Jesus?

Paul instructs us to put on love like you put on a robe. Jesus said love would be the identifying marker of Christians. Love is our livery.

What is a livery?

It’s not simply a uniform. It’s more than that. It is clothing but it’s a sign of covenant; of fidelity and family. It’s hard to understand in our democratic, egalitarian and individualistic age. But in a feudal system you belonged to a household. The great houses were the dukes, earls and other ruling families and everyone in the country belonged to a certain house. All the citizens of a certain area would show which Lord and Household they belonged to by donning their livery. You showed the world whose man you were, who you paid your taxes to, which represented you in court, who provided for you, who you pledged your plow and your sword to. If you swore fealty to a house you wore their livery and were under their protection and direction.

This was everywhere in the feudal system. People would know whose coach was coming by the livery worn by the footmen. In battle, units were determined by livery. If you were found murdered on the road your livery would determine which Lord would seek restitution and justice for you. Even in the British navy this existed. The Captain determined the color the sailors painted the boat which matched the sailor’s coats and the ribbons on their hats.

Jesus is our Lord. He is our King. We belong to the household of God. He represents us in Court. From Christ comes our provision and we are his soldiers. He has commanded us to put on Love; for Love to be our Livery so that no matter where we go or what we do, the world would know whose man we are.

Christ has changed the inner man and no one knows it unless every external expression of ourselves communicates whose household we belong to. This means by the way we think, speak and act we declare to whom we belong. 

We are known as God’s children because of our love, but love is not a feeling it’s a way of thinking, speaking and acting.

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