Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV
“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, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
A Prisoner for the Lord
Okay, this is Paul speaking. He is a prisoner for the Lord, but how? And why? I believe there is a physical aspect to this, as well as a spiritual aspect, but we will begin with the spiritual. If you read Romans 6, you will learn that we who believe in Jesus with God-given faith were crucified with Christ in death to sin “in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6).
But now we who were once slaves of sin, if our faith is genuine, we have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which we were committed, and, having been set free from sin, we have become slaves of righteousness. So, just as we once presented our members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now we must present our members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification (Romans 6:17-19).
And another word for slave is captive, and someone who is captive is imprisoned. So we are either enslaved (imprisoned) to sin or we are slaves (prisoners) to righteousness. And if it is the former, then that is for ourselves. But if it is the latter, that is for the Lord. So Paul’s life was totally surrendered to Jesus Christ, committed to serving him with his life and doing whatever the Lord called him to do. He was a slave to righteousness.
Now because that is true, that led to Paul literally being put in physical prison more times than once, and from there he wrote some of the epistles in our New Testament. And the Scriptures teach us that if our lives are committed to Jesus Christ, and if we are really slaves of righteousness, and no longer slaves of sin, we are going to be hated and persecuted as Jesus was, and as the apostles were, and some of us may end up in prison, and some of us may be martyred for our walks of faith in Jesus Christ.
I Urge You
Now do you realize that we who call ourselves Christians are all supposed to be doing this urging of our brothers and sisters in Christ to walk in the ways of the Lord, in holiness and in righteousness, and in obedience to our Lord? We are to be addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, exhorting one another EVERY DAY so that none of us may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, and considering how to stir up one another to love and good works (yes, works are required of us).
[Ephesians 5:15-21; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 10:23-25]
So, we are being urged here by the Apostle Paul to walk (in conduct, in practice) in a manner worthy (fitting, acceptable) of the calling to which we have been called. And to what have we been called? We are called to belong to Christ (to be his possession), called to be saints, called to be holy, called according to God’s purpose, called into fellowship (partnership, agreement) with Jesus Christ, called to living in freedom from sin, not called for impurity, but in holiness, called out of darkness (sin) into his wonderful light (salvation), and called to God’s own glory and excellence.
[Romans 1:6-7; Romans 8:28; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Galatians 5:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 1:3]
And we are to do this with all humility and gentleness (gentle strength, not weakness), with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. But this involves no compromises of faith and spiritual convictions or of truth and righteousness in order to do any of this. And this definitely does not involve coddling people in their sins or helping them to make excuses for defiant, willful, deliberate and habitual sin. So, we still need to speak the truth in love.
For this is of the Spirit of God, not of the flesh of man, and so we must also be led of the Spirit of God in the carrying out of these things. Like for example, “bearing with one another in love” is not about tolerating and placating professing Christians in deliberate and habitual sin. And “unity” is unity of the Spirit of God, not of the flesh of humans. And “peace” is not all of us agreeing with each other about everything. For we need to be people of God who stand on the truth and who do not waiver.
So, we need to be people of God who are following the Lord Jesus Christ with our lives, who are dying daily with him to sin and to self and who are walking with him daily in obedience to his commands. And we need to be walking (in conduct, in practice) in a manner worthy (fitting, acceptable) of the calling to which we have been called. For, if we continue walking in sin, making sin our practice, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, then we will not have eternal life with God.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
I Take Refuge
An Original Work / September 1, 2018
Based off Psalm 71
O, Lord, I take refuge in You,
For You are my God.
Turn Your ear now to me.
Be my Rock and Fortress
To which I do go.
Deliver me, God. You’re my hope.
My lips now give praise to You, God.
I always have hope,
Since You saved me from sin.
My enemies speak evil
‘gainst me, O God.
Oh, help me, O Lord, rescue me.
The path of my life has been hard.
For, I have had troubles
Too many to bear.
But You will increase honor,
Your faithfulness, Lord, comforts me.