Paul the prisoner
Paul begins this section by reminding the Ephesians that he is in prison for the very things he is teaching them. He is not someone who is asking them to do something that he is unwilling to do. He knows what he is asking them to do. He knows what it will cost them; and he knows it is worth it.
Walk worthy of the calling
In light of God calling us to new life, we need to live in a manner that reflects this reality. Paul is not saying, “Act like a Christian.” He is instead calling us to believe that what God has said concerning us is true. We are new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17.) We are dead to sin (Romans 6:11) We are alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5.) We should live believing these things to be true. Our lives should reflect the glory of God’s saving grace and show the worth of Christ’s sacrifice.
Division only comes because of pride (Proverbs 13:10.) If I am going to reflect the calling that God has placed upon His people for racial reconciliation I must be humble. What divides Jew and Gentile, black and white, etc. is simply pride. We view ourselves in a greater light than we should. This causes us to ignore God’s Word in favor of our own exalted opinion of ourselves.
Put up with each other
The word “forbear” can also be translated as “tolerate;” its root meaning is “put up with.” Essentially Christians are to have very narrow views on doctrine and morality yet extremely broad views on everything else. Unfortunately many Christians have adopted the exact opposite of this. Where God has spoken, we can offer no tolerance. Where God has not spoken we cannot erect a standard. This is vital for reconciliation and unity. We must put up with cultural, political, ethnic, and generational differences. It is easy for a Jew to judge a Gentile over ethnic and cultural lines that God has not erected. It is easy for a Gentile to do the same. Because we love our fellow Christians we must learn to put up with these differences.
Strive for unity and peace
Because God has decreed the reconciliation of people from every tribe, tongue, and nation we must earnestly strive to see this come about. This is literally part of seeking first the Kingdom of God and praying that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. While we strive for righteousness and truth we cannot neglect unity and peace. This is the prayer of Jesus for His Church (John 17:20-22.)
Will you seek to live a life that shows the value of Christ’s sacrifice? Will you put up with cultural and generational differences for the cause of Christ? Will you earnestly seek the unity of the Church?
Paul the prisoner