“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1–3 (ESV)
How are believers in Christ to walk, or live, in a manner worthy of the calling of God to which each believer has been called? In other words, what is consisted in a praise worthy life that is lived for the glory of God?
Please realize that such a life does not earn one a place in heaven. Salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, and in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 1:1-2:10). However, the believer’s justification is foundational and complementary to their corresponding sanctification. God’s call unto justification is proven and substantiated by one’s obedience unto sanctification.
The Apostle Paul provides a brief list of characteristics of the believer’s new life in Christ. Remember, these qualities display a pattern for living the Christian life and not how to enter into the Christian life.
The first quality of a worthy walk in Christ is humility. The next quality is gentleness. The third quality is patience. This is followed by the active behavior of bearing with one another in love. Finally, believers are to be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eager (σπουδάζω; spoudazo) means to work hard and to do one’s best. Believers are to be zealous, but zealous and eager to do what exactly?
Believers are to maintain (τηρέω; tereo), keep and observe the unity (ἑνότης; henotes) or oneness originating from and sourced solely in the Holy Spirit.
Dr. Don Carson writes, “This is not a call for men and women to build God’s kingdom; it is a warning to keep, stay within (‘Maintain!’) the unity God has already inaugurated in Christ (by the events of 2:11–22) and into which we are brought by the Spirit who brings us Christ and his benefits.”
This maintenance of the unity of the Spirit is to be done in the bond of peace. Bond (σύνδεσμος; syndesmos) means a binding which ties together. What is to be bound together is peace (εἰρήνη; eirene) which is tranquility and harmony between believers in Christ. However, it should be strongly noted that this peace is not peace for the sake of peace, but rather peace centered in the truth of God’s Word.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “God’s Spirit has united believers by drawing them to the Father through faith in the Son and indwelling them as a new temple (2:18-22). Christians have a responsibility to retain and express their unity through the Spirit’s fruit, which include humility, patience and love (Galatians 5:22-23).”
Soli deo Gloria!