Love is Our Livery

1 Corinthians 16:14 “Let all that you do be done in love.” John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 1 Thessalonians 3:12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you.” 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 that 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, the cloth and cut of their robes, etc.) They were also known by their behavior 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?

The Apostles instruct us to be clothed in love; to put on love like you put on a robe. Jesus said love would be the identifying marker of Christians. That love would be 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 and earls and other ruling families and everyone in a particular shire 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, who 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 their livery.

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.

You should be as obviously a Christian as a Jew was a Jew in the OT. We have the harder task of making the inward reality the external truth and showing that we are God’s without the purity and clothing laws. Love should be visible. Manifest. Tangible.

Love isn’t a feeling, love does. Love acts. Love speaks. Love serves. Love overcomes. Love goes into the world eating and drinking. Love does.

Love doesn’t live in our hearts hidden from the light of day. It lives on our lips and on our hands. It’s not what we feel – love is what we do.

We are commanded to put on love in Col 3:14 and that love is to be expressed actively; real action in the real world; love is not the hidden feelings of the heart.

You should appear as one not of this world but belonging to Christ. Love should be so manifest in your life, so pervasive that it’s as if people look at you and see a livery, a robe – love should be as obvious in your life as your clothing.

Is it?

Author: Michael Kloss

There is a Sunday conscience, as well as a Sunday coat; and those who make religion a secondary concern put the coat and conscience carefully by to put on only once a week. - Charles Dickens

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