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Rated: E · Column · Religious · #2209614
My perspective based on my personal understanding
Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation where with ye are called.
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Paul was imprisoned by the Romans when he wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus. He even begins this passage calling himself a "prisoner of the Lord" yet his chains are not the cold iron manacles encircling his wrists and ankles. His bonds are the love and grace gifted to him by his acceptance and belief in Jesus Christ. His imprisonment is one he gladly embraces, as we all should.

He continues in the same sentence by pleading with the Ephesians, and us, to walk worthy of the vocation in which we are called. In the present day we refer to our vocation as our career or job, however here Paul uses the Greek word klēsis which means an invitation. God does not command us to do his bidding, He invites us to spread the Gospel according to the gifts He has given us.

In the second verse Paul gives the characteristics of a true Christian. All four of the virtues Christ Himself displayed daily. Paul asks us to live with lowliness and meekness. These two characteristics, humility and gentleness, were considered to be flaws in the Roman Empire as much as they often are today. Yet to become Christlike we must follow in His footsteps as He told his disciples in Matthew 11:29 "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart."

Longsuffering is simply patience, a trait necessary when aggravated by others and their flaws. We have all at various times been offended, insulted and even tempted by worldly people. Patience allows us to restrain our tempers, fears and earthly wants as we are provoked or enticed to stray from the path the Lord desires we walk. For this same reason we need to forbear one another in love to learn tolerance for faults and failures and opposing personalities and temperaments we find in others. Taking this a step further tolerance also allows us to admit and accept our own faults and failures which is vital to recognize if we wish to improve ourselves and as Paul says in Galatians 6:16 "Walk in the Spirit" as well as love one another for before we can truly love others we must first learn to love ourselves as deeply as God Himself loves us.

Paul pleads with us within these two verses to be worthy. The actual Greek word used is axiōs which is also translated as, appropriately, in a godly way. Another way to say this is that Paul is asking us to be Christlike in every aspect of our life. These four traits can be summed up in a single word. Love. When you love someone you show humility, gentleness, patience and tolerance. Our Lord's last commandment given in John 15:12 is "Love one another, as I have loved you." This does not mean only your family, your friends or members of the same denomination as you. It means to love all regardless of whether they irritate you or are of a different religious persuasion. Additionally this does not propose that you merely maintain and outward appearance of composure in their diverse beliefs and behaviors. The love Jesus charges us with is truly heartfelt and soul deep.

The third verse gives us our direct charge from our Lord. "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Some may read this to simply mean we should try to keep the faith however the words used for endeavouring, spŏudazo, and keep, tērĕō, are better translated as be diligent and guard respectively. In this light it becomes clear we are given a commandment from God Himself. We must be diligent to guard the unity of the Spirit in the harmony of peace. The Spirit referred to is the Holy Spirit that comes to live within us when we receive Christ as our Savior. Our duty to our Lord is to defend this unity without disparity which abides in us making all Christians one. "That they may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us." John 17:21

Denominations can often impede our unity. Each religious sect has its own rites, ceremonies and practices. Everyone's personal belief requires him or her to follow certain sacraments, ordinances or covenants, this is no issue as long as we truly listen when God speaks to us. Too often religions tell us they are the one true faith. In reality there is only one faith. Christ is the Son of God and through Him bu His sacrifice and resurrection we are undeservedly granted salvation.

Ephesians 4:4-6 uses the word one seven times one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. Look to Acts 4:32 "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul." Romans 15:6 "That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God." The last book of the Old Testament Malachi 2:10 "Hath not one God created us?"

Our Lord Jesus came to unite us not only in Him and God the Father but also in each other. 1 Corinthians 12:13 "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." However we are never told to invent unity this is impossible on our own. Christ created unity. We are instructed to acknowledge and preserve it.
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 Paul is trying to teach the Ephesians that we need to be a church of one body. This came about because a schism appeared in the early church when Apollos started baptizing. The church in Ephesus began believing they were better than others. He was trying to teach that it mattered not who introduced the people to Christ nor who did the baptizing, all were baptized in the name of God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Ephesians’ attitude continues today within the churches. I have seen it in within the confines of a single church. One family believed their child was better than another because theirs was baptized by the former pastor who had been with the church for forty years and the other child’s was performed by the new minister. That bias divides us to the enemy’s amusement. If we can not agree to the basic tenet of Christ’s teaching that we are one body we have no hope to stand against Satan when he finds the cracks in our armor, the hidden recesses that contain our secrets, our fears and our prayers. We may appear to stand as one yet this will be as a crumbling façade when faced with external opposition.

Genesis 1:26-27 “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” This is another example of unity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit as One creating man and woman to “become one flesh” as it is continued in Genesis 2:24.

We as the body of the church must learn to put aside our petty differences. We need to unite as one people as God intended in the beginning and Jesus taught during his time on the earth. For too long we have allowed the Enemy to insinuate himself into our routine life and into our holy places. Doing thus we have allowed him to corrupt our practices, devotion, praise, and worship of our Lord. The only way to fight him is to unite as His people. To continue the evangelical practices that Jesus commanded us to do. To allow the Holy Spirit to enter our hearts and guide us in our daily lives. With the Gospel as our manual to daily living we have God as our sword and shield to protect us not only from the Enemy but also ourselves.

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." Psalm 133:1
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