God’s purpose and plan from before the beginning of time is that the church, both as individuals and as a body, be to His glory (honor and praise) and to display His glory through out all generations. That can only happen if every one of us lives worthy of the calling we have received. As we begin Chapter 4 of Ephesians, Paul’s emphasis changes; he moves from presenting God’s Great Plan to discussing how believers live out that Plan.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love…” (Ephesians 4:1, ESV)
- The last verse of Chapter 3, the verse just before our passage concludes with, “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (3:21)
- This concludes Paul’s prayer, and describes one of the purposes of God’s Great Plan – that God be glorified (magnified, praised, honored, seen as magnificent and beautiful – this is my definition) for all eternity to come in the Church and in Christ Jesus!
- Perhaps we can somewhat grasp how God would be glorified for all ages to come because of Jesus… but to think He intends to be glorified in us as a community of very fallible believers is almost beyond comprehension.
- So, how is this glorifying of God going to happen in the Church? That is what the rest of Ephesians is about!
EPHESIANS 4:1 –
- “Therefore” – we have several other instances of Paul organizing his letters this way. See Romans 12:!; Galatians 5:1, Colossians 3:5 as examples. Paul will use it (Gk. oun) five more times here in Ephesians: 4:17 (“now” – ESV, “so” – NASB, NIV); 5:1; 5:7; 5:15; 6:14
- “A prisoner for the Lord” – earlier in 3:1 he called himself “a prisoner of Christ Jesus.” These can be taken one of two ways:
- A prisoner OF the Lord – would mean he is actually saying the Lord has captured and holds him, which is true! He will call himself and servant, slave, and minister OF the Lord in other places. In fact, in Ephesians he will also describe himself as an ambassador (6:20), apostle (1:1), servant (3:7) and preacher (3:8). All indicate that he is totally under the control and service of Jesus. Others might see him as prisoner of Rome, but he is saying he is only in Rome because he is a prisoner of Christ!
- A prisoner FOR the Lord – this would most likely mean his service for Christ is the reason for his imprisonment in Rome. He was not a thief, murderer or revolutionary against Rome. It was for the Lord he was imprisoned.
- Both ideas above are true; we are not sure which Paul has in mind here.
- “I urge you” – Gk. parakaleo: “call for, exhort, encourage, implore, beg, appeal.” Forms of this word appear three times in this verse. Literally he says, “I call on you to walk worthy of the calling to which you have been called.”
- “the calling” of God to be a part of His Great Plan – Romans 11:29; I Corinthians 1:26; Ephesians 1:18; Philippians 3:14; II Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 3:1; II Thessalonians 1:11; II Peter 1:10
- “called” by the gospel – Examples: Romans 1:6,7; 8:28,30; 9:24; I Corinthians 1:9,24; II Thessalonians 2:14.
- “Walk in a manner worthy” – appears 5 other times in NT: Romans 16:2; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 1:10; I Thessalonians 2:12; III John 1:6. In every case it means to live a life commensurate or that rises up to the exalted nature or character of our “calling.” And what is our calling? to be reconciled to God and be blessed with all the riches of His glory now and for eternity! That is a very HIGH calling. So, the manner of our living needs to be the very highest as well.
- Have we been “captured by Christ and for His service?”
- Have we answered God’s calling?
- Are we living like children of the King of the Universe? Are we seeking to look as much like our Older Brother, who gave himself for us?
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