Pondering Ephesians 4:1-6
This Week’s Passage: 1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Paul reiterates here that he is a “prisoner for the Lord.” I don’t think he wants the Ephesians to forget this. He is reminding them that no matter what they may be dealing with or how hard life might be for them at least they are free. At least they are not imprisoned for their beliefs. Because he has lived out his faith with authenticity he has every right to plead with them to live authentic Christian lives.
Evidently they were not doing so. And evidently the problem was not with how they were acting towards those outside the church but with those inside the church. With each other. Paul was concerned for the church. How could the church possibly expect to be salt and light in their city – how could they expect to demonstrate the love of Christ to a lost and desperate world – when they couldn’t even love each other.
So he appeals to the calling the believers received. He wants them to be reminded of where they have come from. To be reminded of how Christ has changed their lives. To be reminded that they were blessed, they were chosen, they were loved, they were redeemed, they were forgiven, they were marked by the Spirit of God. (see 1:3-14) He wants them to be reminded that they were DEAD, that they were objects of WRATH – but that God, because of His mercy and grace, made them alive again. (see 2:1-10). He wants them to understand the love of Christ that surpasses ALL understanding (3:19).
His point is that when they really get it, when they really understand what God has done for them in Christ, then all the pettiness and squabbling that goes on among believers begins to look stupid. And it only deters the church from what the church is supposed to be about – living as children of light (see 4:17 – 5:21 which we will get to in the months to come).
Believers are not supposed to agree about everything. We are supposed to love one another! And we are not supposed to be “Stepford Christians” – mindlessly repeating what we we hear others say and mindlessly doing what we are told to do. We are supposed to think for ourselves while being “completely humble and gentle.” There WILL be times when believers, because of their love for one another, will have to agree to disagree – and then boldly and courageously get on with the business of the church: Rescuing the lost, shining light in the darkness, and being a living, loving testimony to the glorious grace of our glorious God.
I’m just sayin’!
Next Week’s Passage: Ephesians 4:7-13