Ephesians 4:1-3 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.
A Prisoner for the Lord
Paul said that he was a “prisoner for the Lord.” Was he speaking literally or figuratively? Or, both?
He was a literal prisoner many times, in real physical prisons, because of his faith in Jesus Christ, and because of his testimony for the gospel of our salvation from sin. He was hated and persecuted much, too, because of what he taught about Jesus and about the gospel of Christ.
Yet, there is a figurative aspect to this, as well. For, when we come to faith in Jesus Christ, we are delivered out of our slavery to sin, but then we become slaves of Christ’s righteousness, and a slave is much like a prisoner, only he is in willing slavery to righteousness and to obedience to Christ, out of his own choosing, because of his faith in the gospel of our salvation.
Yet, when we are no longer slaves to this world of sin and to Satan, and we become slaves (bondservants) of Christ’s righteousness, then we, too, will be hated and persecuted for our faith. And, many of us may be literally put in jail, too, for it will become a crime to be such a follower of Jesus Christ.
For, “unity” of all people, regardless of beliefs or lifestyle, is the goal of the global beast and of his one-world religion. So, we will be called upon to unite with this one-world religion or face the consequences. And then, we, too, will be able to say with Paul that we are prisoners for the Lord Jesus.
Worthy of the Calling
We are being urged here to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called. So, what have we been called to?
Called to belong to Christ – Rom. 1:6
Called to be saints – Rom. 1:7
Called according to his purpose – Rom. 8:28
Called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord – 1 Co. 1:9
Called to freedom – Gal. 5:13
Not called us for impurity, but in holiness – 1 Thess. 4:7
Called us to a holy calling – 2 Tim. 1:9
Called you out of darkness into his marvelous light – 1 Peter 2:9
Called us to his own glory and excellence – 2 Peter 1:3
Thus, we are to walk in a manner worthy (commendable) of that calling. So, this means that we are to live lives which are separate (unlike, different) from the world and unto God and to his righteousness. We are to see our lives as no longer our own, to be lived how we want, but that we now belong to Christ, and we are God’s possession, and he is now master of our lives.
We should conduct our lives in a manner that is in accord with God’s holy purpose and will for our lives, obeying his commands, and doing what his Word teaches us we must do as followers of Christ. We should walk (in lifestyle) as though Jesus truly did free us from our addiction to sin, no longer in impurity and immorality, but in righteousness and godliness.
And, we must make righteousness our practice and no longer make sin our practice (our habit), for we have been called out of darkness (sin) into God’s wonderful light (truth, righteousness).
Thus, we should live our lives in a manner which is to the glory and praise of God in all that we do, think, say and are, not in absolute sinless perfection, necessarily, but as a matter of conscience, of love for God, and as the normal course of our lives.
Humility and Gentleness
And, we are to do this with all humility and gentleness. And, humility is the opposite of pride. But, know this: Pride can be inverted, too. In other words, if a person goes around putting himself down all the time, especially if it is to get others to build him up, that is also pride, and it is false humility.
True humility is not looking for the praise of humans or for human approval or for human validation. It is not centered in self at all, but it is centered in Christ and in genuine love for others, expressed in the way in which God loves us, and gave himself up for us for our deliverance from sin.
Although it is nice to receive human approval, that should never be our goal for what we do or for why we do it. So, this means that our righteousness and holiness must be genuine, and it should not be put on to impress other humans in hopes that we will get kudos (“likes”) from them. We should do what we do for the praise and honor of God, even if no one ever “likes” us.
And, we should do what we do with gentleness, too, but this does not mean with weakness or false humility. But this word means “meekness,” which is “gentle strength” (1).
For, Jesus Christ was meek (gentle), but he wasn’t weak. Read what he said to the Pharisees, and even some of the things he said to his own disciples. Read the instructions he gave us on what it means to be one of his followers, and how a large majority of his followers left him because they said his teachings were “too hard.”
So, gentleness does not back down from the truth in order to not hurt people’s feelings. It is not powerless, but it is power that is controlled, and that is operated with reserve (with restraint and with godly wisdom). For, we don’t have to blow people away and be harsh to be truthful, but we shouldn’t retreat or water-down the truth, either, to be kind and gentle.
Bearing with One Another
We need to be patient with other people, too, for God is patient with us. This does not mean we are to be tolerant of sin, especially continued and unrepentant sin, though. And, this does not mean that we ignore abusive and addictive behaviors, either.
Scripture teaches that we are to lovingly confront those who are caught (trapped) in sin in order to restore them. And, it teaches that the church needs to not turn a blind eye to unrepentant sinful practices among its members, either. But, that they need to exercise godly discipline towards those who are continuing in sin and who are unwilling to repent.
We are told in scripture that “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins” (Jas. 5:20 NIV). Obviously this is not speaking about concealing ongoing sin, for the context of this is about turning a sinner away from his error of sin. So, the covering here is the covering of the blood of Jesus in forgiveness of sin, which comes about when we truly repent of (turn from) our sin.
Bearing with one another, though, means we don’t give up on people. Although it may take a very long time for some of them to see the light, and to turn away from their sins, and to God, we don’t lose hope, but we keep praying, and we keep believing God for changed hearts of the Spirit of God.
Unity of the Spirit
This word “unity” is a tricky word today, for the beast one-world order and its one-world religion are all about unity, but it is unity with the beast.
Even within the institutional church we hear much about “unity” and about how we all need to unite with one another. But, more often than not, that unity is with men and with marketing schemes and with business plans and goals, but it is not unity with Christ and with the truths of His Word.
So, we need to be discerning about this word “unity” and find out with what we are uniting before we jump on board.
For, even within the church they will quote scripture about unity to try to guilt-trip you into uniting with men and with humanistic teaching and goals and purposes. So, before we “unite” with anyone, we need to make certain it is “unity of the Spirit” of God and that it is not unity with men in their deceitful scheming.
Bond of Peace
When we are truly walking (conducting our lives) according to the Spirit of God, and no longer according to the flesh, and we are maintaining the unity of the Spirit, in the bond of peace, we will be at peace with God and with our fellow believers in Jesus Christ who are doing likewise.
But, this word “peace” is another tricky word today, for this New World Order has their own “peace plan,” but theirs is not based in peace with God, but in harmony with the beast and with his plan for the world. Their peace is all about absence of conflict and the whole world uniting together as one mind, one heart, and one voice, etc.
And, in order to have their kind of peace, we have to destroy everything that divides us as the people of the world. And, the gospel of Jesus Christ divides – saved and unsaved, Christian and non-Christian, godly and ungodly, and those bound for heaven and those destined for hell, etc.
So, be careful that the “peace plan” you are following is God’s peace plan, which is in harmony with him and with His Word and with His gospel message of death to sin and living to righteousness. And, when we uphold that, then we will know true peace, even if all hell is breaking loose all around us.
So, a bond of peace is on God’s terms, not on man’s terms, thus it doesn’t mean everyone will like us, for many will hate us and will persecute us for righteousness’ sake.
Blessed Are You
An Original Work / August 29, 2012
Based off Luke 6:20-49 NIV 1984
“Blessed are you; blessed are you
Who are poor for God’s kingdom is yours.
Blessed are you; blessed are you
Who are hungry, you’ll be satisfied.
Blessed are you; blessed are you
Who weep now, for you will laugh with joy.
Blessed are you; blessed are you
when men hate and reject you because of Christ.”
“Rejoice in that; rejoice in that day
And leap for joy; great your reward.
But I tell you; but I tell you
To love those who hate you; do them good.
Pray for those who; pray for those who
Treat you wrong and say kind things of them.
Do to others; do to others as you would
Have them do; have them do to you.”
“If you love those; if you love those
Who love you, what praise is there for you?
Because Christ is; because Christ is kind,
Be merciful, just like He is.
Forgive others; forgive others
Their offense against you; be ye kind.
Hear My words and; hear My words and
Put them into practice, then you’ll be fulfilled.”
Wednesday, January 30, 2019