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.”
Walk in a Manner Worthy
What is the calling to which we have been called as followers of Jesus Christ? We are called to belong to Christ, to be his saints, his holy ones, living lives which are separate (unlike, different) from this world of sin. We are called according to his purpose, and we are called to freedom in Christ, i.e. to walk in freedom from bondage to sin in the power of God living within us.
We are called into fellowship with Jesus Christ, our Lord, to forsake our lives of living for sin and self and to now follow Jesus in obedience to his commands. For if we say we have fellowship with God but we still are walking (in conduct, in practice) in the darkness (in sin, in wickedness), then we are liars who do not live by the truth (1 Jn 1:5-9).
And fellowship with our Lord Jesus involves being united with him in mind and in heart and in purpose. And it means spending time with him every day in reading and in studying and in meditating on his word, in context, in listening to the Spirit’s voice speaking to our hearts, counseling us in the way in which we should go, and then doing what our Lord says.
And we are not called to impurity but in holiness. And holiness involves being separate from the world of sin and from the world’s attitudes, mindset, values, morals, philosophies, and behaviors. It means to not be like the world because we are being made into the likeness of Christ by the Spirit as we cooperate with God’s work of grace in our lives and follow his lead.
We are not to be liars, adulterers, fornicators, gossips, haters, gluttons, idolaters, murderers, cheats, thieves, manipulators, abusers, users, and greedy, nor are we to be involved and engaged in all manner of evil and in wicked practices. But we are to live holy lives pleasing to God, in all godliness, honesty, integrity, uprightness and in self-control.
For, our Lord Jesus has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. We are called to his own glory and excellence. So, we are to live lives which are free from the control of sin, and we are to walk in obedience to our Lord, no longer living as slaves of sin, but now living as slaves of God and of his righteousness, to the glory of God. This is how we are to live.
[Rom 1:6-7; Rom 8:28; 1 Co 1:9; Gal 5:13; 1 Thes 4:7; 2 Tim 1:9; 1 Pet 2:9; 2 Pet 1:3; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26]
Bearing with One Another in Love
This love is agape love which means to prefer what God prefers, to prefer to live through Christ, to choose his choices, and to walk in obedience to his commands, in his power and strength. And what God prefers is what is righteous, holy, morally pure, honest, faithful, not adulterous, loving, and kind, which does no harm to other humans. If we love with this love we will not deliberately and habitually sin against God and other humans.
So, if we bear with one another in this kind of love, it does not mean to tolerate habitual and unrepentant sin. It does not mean to accept sinful behaviors of others who say they are Christians. And it does not mean to ignore nor to placate unrepentant and habitual sin in the lives of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ. For this kind of love will confront them in their sin and it will call them to repentance and to obedience to Jesus Christ.
So, in this case we would endure this trial of our brothers and sisters in Christ (or those professing faith in Christ) still walking in their sin, in rebellion against the Lord, and we would carry the burden of praying for them, and speaking the truth in love to them, and suffering persecution from them in return when they refuse to listen and to forsake their sins and they feel that grace permits them to continue living in sin.
It would mean that, even though they reject the truth, and that they believe the lie, and so they reject us who are speaking the truth and who are exposing the lies, that we persist not only in staying the course with our Lord but we persist in loving them, praying for them, and showing them the way of the cross unless they tell us they don’t want to hear it. And we continue living out the faith that God works in us for his glory and praise.
Unity of the Spirit
There is a lot of talk these days about unity, both from government heads and from pastors of churches and from their congregants. But typically when they speak of unity it is not unity of the Spirit of God nor unity with Jesus Christ but it is unity with other humans and with humanistic philosophy and with marketing schemes and with business plans and government goals and objectives for the people of their nations.
Global unity is being pushed very hard these days on a world level, on a national level, and within the gatherings of the institutional church. For they want all of us, all the people of the world, to agree together, to be of the same mind and heart, and to speak as one voice, and to get rid of all which divides us as the people of the world. And for the Christian this would mean compromising our faith and discarding the truth of the gospel of Christ.
But unity with the Spirit of God in the bond of peace is not unity and peace with the world. It involves no compromise of faith and convictions or values and morals. It is uniting with Christ Jesus and with his word, in not only believing who He is and what his word teaches us, but it is uniting ourselves with our Lord through our actions by living out what the word of God teaches that we must do.
So, if we are eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace we are not going to try to blend in with our culture or compromise any of our morals or beliefs. We will not make compromises with the ungodly and yield to them on any issues of faith, doctrine, and practices in order to make peace with the world or so the world will love us and accept us as their own. For, we are called out from among them to be separate.
Lord, Move Me
An Original Work / October 16, 2011
Be my desire, my heart set on fire,
Lord, move me to worship You only, I pray.
Fill with Your Spirit, my heart overflow.
Lord, may I long for You; Your word to know.
Teach me to walk with You, Lord, in Your power,
And may I serve You, Lord, right now in this hour.
Lord, how I want to obey You forever.
Help me to hear You, Lord, so I will not stray.
Teach me to love You; adore You always.
Envelope me, Lord, with Your grace today.
Meet me in my need, and show me Your mercy.
Forgive me for all things, as I humbly pray.
Counsel me, lead me, direct me, and guide me,
So I follow You, Lord, where’er You lead now.
I love to hear You speak Your words to me.
I am so grateful that You set me free.
Wash me, and cleanse me, and make me like You, Lord,
And I will live with You for eternity.