Ephesians 4:1–6 (NKJV)
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Paul keeps referring to a calling with which you were called. What calling?
Paul mentions a lot of things in verses five and six: one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father. Is the calling one of those, or maybe all of them together?
Almost. The calling is what Jesus said to people as he called them – “Follow me.” The calling is to follow Jesus as Lord.
And this isn’t a suggestion; it’s a command. It’s the essence of what it means to be a Christian. You are called.
And Paul is encouraging the Ephesian Christians to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called. In a way, that’s surprising.
We tend to look up to the first century Christians as perfect saints. We see present day Christianity as a poor substitute for the real thing, and the real thing is the people Paul’s writing to here.
Obviously, that’s idealistic. Paul wrote this to the Ephesians because they weren’t perfect.
They needed to hear it just as much as we do.
We have, against all odds, been called to a great thing, and we need to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.
But there’s more. Paul tells us how we’re to do that, and the method he prescribes here is surprising. We’re to walk with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit.
So, walking worthy of the calling with which you were called doesn’t mean walking like super-perfect saints. It means walking with all lowliness and gentleness.
That makes a lot more sense. If Paul had told us to be super-saints who never sin, well then, good luck with that. Instead he says almost the exact opposite. Don’t act like you’re better than everyone else.
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