We’re told to live in a manner worthy of the calling on our lives (Eph 4:1). In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul detailed God’s calling on our lives as followers of Christ; how He chose us to adopt, forgive, and redeem.
Living a life worthy of such mercy and grace feels like an impossible task. I continually mess up. I hate to admit it, but I’m too often aloof and unintentional in having a Christ-centered day. I’m distracted by the world. I’m worn down by busyness. I feed my own self-worth like the world couldn’t go on without me.
We are saved by grace, not by works (Eph 2:8-9). We could never earn our salvation, never pay the price Jesus paid on the cross.
However, out of gratitude and obedience, we can strive to live godly lives. We can intentionally work on displaying the humility, gentleness, patience, unity, and peace outlined in today’s verses. The lives of people of such character are a testimony to the watching, unsaved world, and a guidepost within the body of believers.
Let’s talk about the call to unity in Ephesians 4:3-6. Jesus specifically prayed for unity among believers as He walked toward the Garden of Gethsemane before His betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion (Luke 17:20-21).
Division is nothing new. The Ephesians were struggling with the unity of Jews and Gentiles when Paul wrote this letter. Today, well, our world is polarized, fragmented, prejudiced, and compartmentalized.
I think of this in two ways.
1. The world versus the Church. (By Church, I mean the worldwide body of Christian believers.) In so many ways, the world values and promotes ideas and qualities that are in direct opposition to holiness and following Christ. For example, popular opinion tells us to draw boundaries based on our feelings; the Bible tells us to draw boundaries with Scripture as the guide for truth (pride vs. humility, power vs. gentleness, selfishness vs. selflessness).
We cannot change or dilute Scripture to avoid offending the world.
2. Division within the church and between churches. (By church, I mean the finite, human-led denominations and congregations where we attend worship.) For Christians, our shared belief and salvation in Jesus Christ should overshadow any tiffs of choir hymns versus worship bands, of dressing up or coming as you are. It should erase any boundaries of race, education, status, political alignment, or nationality. Diversity (even diversity of opinions or ideas) does not necessitate division, and we cannot cast each other aside over human-made categories.
Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross to save us from our sins. We are saved by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
Those are the non-negotiable tenets of the Christian faith. The rest are details.
The resurrection changed everything, including our relationships with others. We are unified as a worldwide body of believers, no longer separated by division (Gal 3:28). We can show the world the love of Christ by breaking down these barriers that seek to divide us every day. May we walk humbly but live boldly, always trying to glorify God and unite and strengthen the worldwide body of believers. May our lives reflect the hope of the gospel.
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