The development of the inner Christian life of believers was Paul’s concern in the first three chapters of Ephesians. In the last three chapters, the development of the outward Christians life of believers is the theme. Position and practice need to be consistent with each other in order for a believer to enjoy the life of faith. For those who look on to see whether there is reality to Christianity, what I say and what I do should be evident to those who know me. Paul was a prisoner it is true, but for the Lord, not for misdeeds. As he writes this letter, the necessity of unity becomes very obvious. The word, “walk,” is mentioned seven times in this letter and it teaches that one’s behavior in every part of life should be worthy of being a child of God. One area of life where this is difficult is in the interaction of a person with others. What I am inside is not very obvious to most people. Family and close friends may be able to see beyond my exterior. But for Christians as a whole, our relationship one with another is what makes what we believe attractive or repulsive. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love on to another.”
Our position, “seated with Christ in heavenly places,” and our possessions, “filled with all the fullness of God,” is made manifest by our “walk,” our behavior. The point of preaching that brings the Gospel today to the lost is the same as the preaching of the apostles. It is not only to detect and disclose the disease of sin in every person, but it is to reveal the remedy for sin. It is through the preaching of the Gospel that God calls to sinners and reveals who they are and what Christ has done for them. Every believer wherever they are and whoever they are, has been brought into the body of Christ. There is unity in that body that is not affected by denominational teaching or lack of teaching. That unity of the children of God is intact and does not break off into little pieces by the will of men. The church is an organism composed of all believers.
The understanding of such grace that has brought us into the family of God is free and it is full. Nothing else is needed. There is however, an expectation that our response to such love as has been bestowed on us, naturally leads a true believer to act in genuine humility. Our calling as heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ anticipates we walk worthy of such calling. This is Paul’s appeal to early believers at Ephesus who could have divided because of culture and race. The calling in the Gospel brought us to hear and understand the significance of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for us. In view of who he is, we should be humbled because of our low estate and this great blessing of being one in Christ. We should walk worthy of the redemption with which we have been blessed. We were “dead in trespasses and sins,” but have been redeemed with the “precious blood of Christ.” Now in this new position and with this new life it is important that our walk dignifies such grace in the minds of people.
Lowliness of mind, humility, is recognizing ourselves for who we really are. A sensible estimation of ourselves will keep us in a condition of meekness. Submission to divine control and even self-control, is real evidence of a meek person. Power under control is a Christian characteristic. Lack of personal control cannot long be hidden from the public. A long temper that endures pain and provocation without retaliation is consistent with a worthy walk. A longsuffering person does not give way to bursts of anger and displays of frustration. There is a gentleness in a worthy walk that cannot be denied by those who observe a Christian’s walk. This is one way we can live up to our calling. By allowing for the mistakes, failures and frailty of others without any censure or improper reaction, our walk as a believer is demonstrated. To step in and help another who has made a mistake and by taking responsibility to correct a wrong, testifies to the unity of the body.
The unity of the Spirit is a unity of privilege. God is dwelling in each one who is in His family. This is maintained when we give diligence to preserve the unity, to keep it in custody by the oneness of the Spirit. We all have the common experience of God’s saving grace and keeping power. This working of Christ in us forms us into the body in which each one is kept by the bond of peace. There is unity in the body because it is one organism composed of all believers through the past centuries since our Lord Jesus went back to heaven. The eternal Spirit has brought this about and maintains this by uniting us into one body with one future objective.
There is also a unity of responsibility that is a response of all believers to God’s grace. This is the unity of the Lord. By our Lord Jesus everything is made and maintained in perfect order. He is the Lord, the Owner of everything and everything unified under His authority works properly. The one faith we have is not only the complete body of doctrinal teaching but includes the basis of our peace with God and power for living for the Lord. In the one baptism our allegiance and loyalty to Him as Lord is signified publicly. We are identified with Christ in His supreme work – His death, burial and resurrection on our behalf. When Christ died, I died. When He was buried, I was buried. When He rose from the dead, I was raised to walk in “newness of life.” To meet this public responsibility identifies God’s people not only in God’s eyes but in the eyes of mankind. We represent His name and interests in carrying out the commission He gave us.
There is a third evidence of unity when we walk worthy of our calling. That is the unity of relationship because of one God and Father of all who believe on Him. Our God and Father is the Sovereign of the whole universe. He is separate from humanity and yet has made us His children by faith in Jesus Christ. We are placed as adult sons and daughters of His with the dignity that is associated with that calling. All believers can call Him, “Father.” He is in all believers in all places and at all times. He uses us to carry out His actions to accomplish His eternal purposes. He has given grace to us that is full and free and available at all times. We are not left powerless to do this. In our public walk with the Lord and the outworking of our faith, God’s people have the unity of privilege by the indwelling Spirit in each person. Each has the united responsibility to represent our Lord Jesus Christ so He may be seen in our mortal bodies by everyone who knows us. Every believer from the beginning of the church to its completion is part of that unity of relationship whereby we can say to God, “Abba Father.”