In Ephesians 4, the Apostle Paul, who refers to himself as the prisoner of the Lord, reveals what he has learned about the purpose of God for the church. He urges the church to walk together in unity as the Body of Christ. This unity is founded on the concept of one functioning body, with Christ being the head, followed by men and women called to do certain works to extend the kingdom. This chapter unveils the heart of a loving, compassionate, and inclusive Creator.
I find it very interesting the way Paul opens his salutation by describing himself as a “prisoner of the Lord.” Although Paul was in and out of prison, I feel that his prison was not just bars. He could not get away from the truths that surrounded him when he realized who Jesus was. He was as zealous after his conversion as he was before it. He encourages us to walk worthy of our calling by following the example of Christ which is “love.” I am sure he was looked upon harshly by many for his past actions against the followers of Christ and even more so for his boldness. Paul makes us see the grace that God extends to all of us. He was so unworthy, yet he was made worthy. He was not ashamed to walk in that worthiness. He knew that the gospel of Christ is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.
He goes on to describe the fruit of the Spirit when he talks about how we should walk in lowliness, gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love. When we follow the teaching of Christ in our everyday living, we might not be able to stay unified in our own strength. He will make whatever we cannot do “possible” if we work together in Spirit.
Paul also talks about the death of Christ and what it means for one who believes through faith that His death was our “one hope”. We all have access to His grace.
Not only did Christ give us grace which we did not deserve; He gave us gifts to be used in service to mankind. When He ascended to the Father, we were set free and the works of Satan no longer had power over us. We became part of the Body of Christ because of our acceptance of Him. His purpose on earth was complete because He came (descended) to save humanity and to accomplish the plan that He and His Father made before the foundation of the world. He went back to His Father (ascended) after the completion of that plan.
Although God called some individuals for specific work, we all have something to contribute to the church. We become new when we join the Body of Christ . We can now see the light and walk in the light. The word of God convicts us and we no longer want to live in our former state. We actually have been given a new mind.
Finally, Paul talks about putting away the works of the flesh, which grieves the Holy Spirit, because He has already given us dominion over all that would destroy us. God is so gracious to us and surely Paul was a product of that grace.
He ends the chapter admonishing us to be kind to one another, having tender hearts, and remembering that we should be ready to forgive each other, just as God in Christ forgave us.
This message is for the Body of Christ. We must remember that this body is a living, breathing, moving body and has the power to extend to our home, our communities, and to the world!