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Ephesians

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©John Yerkes (whatyousee.kc)

Chapter 4:1-6 (ESV)

Posted on July 20, 2022  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 4:1-6 (ESV) -  I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 

Question to consider: Why is Paul urging the Ephesians to walk in a manner worthy of their calling?

Whenever we see the word “therefore,” we should consider the next statement in the context of what was written before. In other words, what is the "therefore" there for? Up until this point, Paul’s letter was giving Gentiles the assurance that God had chosen them to be fellow citizens of the kingdom of heaven with the Jews since before time began. The entirety of their salvation was a work of the Holy Spirit in them as a gift through the shed blood of Christ on the cross. Paul was even willing to be beaten and die in prison to defend this good news of their salvation. 

By “walk,” Paul was referring to their journey through life, how they lived out their faith in the world. With the knowledge that their sins had been redeemed by Christ, Paul urged them to live like children of God with all humility, gentleness and patience. The most obvious application of this would be in the love and patience they showed toward their brothers and sisters in Christ by maintaining their peace with one another and being united by the Holy Spirit.

Paul then wrote about what unites us: we all believe that there is one universal body of believers which we call the church. This body of believers extends across all denominations that hold to one Lord, one Spirit and one God and Father of all. It may be frustrating that individual denominations and even individual Christians divide from one another, but generally this division is not over things which are central to the faith. For example, when Paul says “one baptism,” we can disagree on when to baptize or the mode of baptism, but we all should be united around the fact that we are being baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, for this was the direct command of Christ (Matthew 28:19)

Churches may differ on what type of music to play in a worship service, on whether to say rote prayers or use a standard  liturgy, but we all gather around one faith that Christ is our only hope of salvation. Churches may differ on the true presence of Christ’s body and blood in communion or how often we should receive it, but we all participate in the communion meal, reading what Paul gave to the Corinthians, “The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

This doesn’t mean that these differences are not important or that we should not wrestle with them. However, it should not be something the devil can use as a foothold to destroy the church. If you belong to a particular church or denomination in which you cannot unite around the way they do things like communion, baptism, etc., it is better to join a congregation in which you can unite rather than cause unnecessary divisions or violate your conscience. The only caveat to this is in confronting matters of false teaching on essential doctrines or sin in the congregation.

Prayer

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for uniting us in Christ and giving us Your Spirit to help us maintain that unity and walk more closely with You. Help us to be worthy of our calling as Your children, not to earn Your favor but because we are being remade in the image of Christ. Amen.