Ephesians 4:1-3

In Ephesians 4:1-3 Paul exhorts the church on how they should life. Paul spent three chapters spelling out in glorious detail all that God did for us, freely by His grace. Now he brings a call to live right according to God’s plan, but he makes that charge only after explaining what God did for us. “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called….” When we really understand how much God did for us, we will naturally want to serve and obey Him out of gratitude. Trapp explains “Luther counsels men to answer all temptations of Satan with this only, Christianus sum, I am a Christian.”

The idea is clear. We don’t walk worthy so that God will love us, but because He does love us. It is motivated out of gratitude, not out of a desire to earn points or keep score. We have a responsibility as Christ Followers to walk God’s way. So Paul goes on to paint a picture of what that walk looks like: “,,,,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.” A worthy walk before God will be marked by humility and gentleness, not a pushy desire to defend our own rights and advance our own agenda.

The word translated ‘humility’ means that we can be happy and content when we are not in control or steering things our way. We have to learn to let Jesus have the wheel. Paul then defines our walk as one done with patience. We need this so that the inevitable wrongs that occur between people in God’s family will not work against God’s purpose of bringing all things together in Jesus. The church is full of humans who are without question sinners. Some of that sinful behavior will be toward each other, and without patience and a willingness to work to live in unity as fellow heirs with Christ, things get messy real fast and can become a problem in the Body.

Paul continues to urge us to make love our secret sauce. It is what allows us to forgive and have unity and peace which are two more things that Paul defines here as characteristics of walking with Jesus. We can understand the unity of the Spirit by understanding what it is not. In a sermon on this text, Charles Spurgeon pointed out some of the things that the text does not say.

  • It does not say, “To endeavor to maintain the unity of evil, the unity of superstition, or the unity of spiritual tyranny.”
  • It does not say, “Endeavoring to keep up your ecclesiastical arrangements for centralization.”
  • It does not say, “Endeavoring to keep the uniformity of the Spirit.”

Unity is found in Jesus, not in the efforts of man. Spurgeon wrote “We want unity in the truth of God through the Spirit of God. This let us seek after; let us live near to Christ, for this is the best way of promoting unity. Divisions in Churches never begin with those full of love to the Savior.” This is a spiritual unity, not necessarily a structural or denominational unity. It is evident in the quick fellowship possible among Christians of different races, nationalities, languages, and economic classes. No matter where you go, true Christ Followers can have unity and fellowship with each other.

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