“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” - Ephesians 4:16
Generally speaking, Paul’s letters to the early Christian churches scattered throughout the ancient world can be divided up into two parts. The first part is the teaching or proclamation of the Gospel. This is where Paul dives deep into theological truths about what Jesus has done for us through his life, death, and resurrection. In the book of Ephesians, Paul gives us some of the best expressions of this as he proclaims,
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast, (Eph. 2:8-9).
But, as is typically the case, the second part of Paul’s letters has to do with applying these theological truths to our everyday lives. Chapter 4 begins this second section. Paul begins this section with these words,
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received, (Eph. 4:1)
What calling? The calling to be a member of God’s household, one chosen before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in God’s sight. One altogether loved by God in Christ with an unfathomable, incalculable love. That calling.
And what does that look like?
Paul says that it manifests itself with how we interface with others. Humility, gentleness, patience, love, unity, peace. We were called into one body - the Body of Christ - and here we seek to live into that theological reality that we really, truly, have been made one. Granted, this is not always (or ever) easy, of course. People do things we don’t like and others have ideas we disagree with. How do we find unity even in the midst of conflict or disagreement?
The key, it seems, comes in what Paul says next. Though the Church is one in Christ, Jesus has also seen fit to include a little diversity in His Church. We are one body but, just as the human body is made up of many parts, so too is the church. Many different people have many different gifts. Recognition of such giftedness helps us to see others not as competition or opposition, but part of the Body that brings something different to the table. In humility, we can recognize that the rise and fall of the Church doesn’t rest on our shoulders but on Christ alone. And it is Jesus who has gifted his church with a diversity of people to do the work of ministry.
Don’t forget to join us at 8:45am for Bible this Sunday as we continue our series KNOWN. If you didn’t get the Bible reading guide on Sunday, you can download the PDF version HERE.