21 January 2014Ephesians 4:1-6
“I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” (v. 1)
Today's passage marks the start of the second part of the letter to the Ephesians. The first part (chapters 1-3) is more about doctrine; the second part (chapters 4-6) is more about morality. The first part concludes with a wonderful act of praise (Ephesians 3:20-21) and, in one sense, it would have made a good ending to the letter. But there is more to say and it arises from what has already been said; the word 'therefore' in verse 1 makes that clear.
The vast majority of the second part of the letter is a series of exhortations in which "the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful to Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 1:1) are told what "the power at work within [them] is able to accomplish" (Ephesians 3:20). They are begged, told, or encouraged to live, behave, and act in certain ways; each exhortation is understood to deal with an aspect of leading a life worthy of the calling to which they have been called. Verses 2-3 say that leading such a life entails living "with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace". Verses 4-6 say why it is vital to make that effort: there is one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, and one God and Father of all.
- Who are the people you know that clearly demonstrate humility, gentleness, patience, and love in ways that help to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?
- What do you think detracts from or even destroys the unity of the Spirit?
- What other characteristics and activities do you think are important for those who seek to lead lives worthy of the calling to which they have been called?
- What is the power at work within you accomplishing in you and through you?