THOUGHTS FROM EPHESIANS

30 MAINTAINING CHRISTIAN UNITY

A meditation on Ephesians 4:4-6

 

In Ephesians 4:4-6 Paul describes the objective, Spirit-given unity that exists among all genuine believers.  

Whether we know or acknowledge it or not, all genuine Christian believers have seven things in common: we are all members of the body of Christ; we have all been regenerated and indwelt by the one Spirit; we have all been called to the same hope; we have the one Lord; we have the one faith; we have the one baptism – irrespective of the mode or the time of baptism it is baptism in the name of Christ; we have the one God and Father, who is ’over all and through all and in all.’  

This objective and real unity is the reason and rationale for the pursuit of subjective unity that Paul lays upon us in verses 2 and 3. Having received this amazing identity that binds us all together in Christ whether we like it or not, Paul says ‘walk worthy of the calling you have received’. In the Greek text this is followed not by a full stop, but by the preposition ‘with’ and that ‘with’ is followed by a list of descriptions of how to walk in a way that is worthy of who and what we are in Christ. 

With all humility – humility of mind, a deep sense of one’s own insignificance, because we know that we have nothing to boast about because our salvation is all of grace.

And gentleness – mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, because we know that our fellow believers are, like us, also weak and helpless, vulnerable and fragile.

With patience – forbearance, slowness in avenging wrongs, because we know that we also fail and err.

Bearing with one another in love – because that is what the Lord does to us.

Making every effort to keep – to keep watch over, to guard - the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, because Jesus Christ paid dearly to gain this peace for us and make us one.

In verses 1 to 3 there is only one command in the Greek text, the command to live worthy of our calling. Every thing else is a description of how that command is to be implemented, as listed in the five points above.

The calling is there, the unity already exists. Our job is to express this unity and to make every effort to preserve this unity, in the way we relate to others in the body of Christ. 

Only such a life is worthy of our calling.

 

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006, 2011.