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Summary: In Ephesians 4:1–6 Paul appeals to believers to walk worthy of their high position in Jesus Christ. In describing that walk he discusses its 1) Call (Ephesians 4:1), 2) Characteristics (Ephesians 4:2-3), and its 3) Cause (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Ephesians 4:1-6 [4:1] 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. [4]There is one body and one Spirit--just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-- [5]one Lord, one faith, one baptism, [6]one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (ESV).

If there has been one controversial action that health departments have commented on during this time of COVID, it has been the instruction on wearing masks. Beside obvious areas of long-term care homes and hospitals, debate has raged over the use in public. Not only have there been specific instructions for churches to instruct those attending to wear a mask especially if singing, theologically we can point to passages like Romans 14, that talk about voluntarily restricting our liberty by wearing a mask in order to show kindness to others who do not feel the same liberty. Durham region itself has instituted a new code of conduct for anyone in a commercial establishment, that they must be wearing a mask.

In some ways, these types of instructions are not new. Social clubs, sports teams, business and the Church itself, have codes of conduct to regulate behavior. The idea is to have a particular standard of expectation that would match the public message of the organization. Unfortunately for the visible Church in general too many Christians are glad to have the spiritual security, blessings, and promises of the gospel but have too little sense of responsibility in conforming to biblical standards and obeying its commands.

As such, in the first three chapters of Ephesians Paul has set forth the believer’s position with all the blessings, honors, and privileges of being a child of God. In the next three chapters he gives the consequent obligations and requirements of being His child, in order to live out salvation in accordance with the Father’s will and to His glory. The first three chapters set forth truth about the believer’s identity in Christ, and the last three call for the practical response. Capters 1–3 provide the theological basis for Christian unity, then chapters 4–6 contain the practical instruction for its maintenance. Unity has been established (the indicative); now it becomes the duty of the believers to strengthen and maintain unity in their fellowship (the imperative). (Patzia, A. G. (2011). Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon (p. 228). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.)

In Ephesians 4:1–6 Paul appeals to believers to walk worthy of their high position in Jesus Christ. In describing that walk he discusses its 1) Call (Ephesians 4:1), 2) Characteristics (Ephesians 4:2-3), and its 3) Cause (Ephesians 4:4-6).

In order for believers to walk worthy of our calling, we must first understand:

1) The Call to the Worthy Walk (Ephesians 4:1)

Ephesians 4:1 [4:1] I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, (ESV)

As in other Pauline letters, the doctrine expounded in the earlier part is to be worked out according to the practical guidance given in the later part, the transition from the one to the other being marked by the adverb “therefore. (cf. Rom. 12:1; 1 Cor. 4:16; Col. 3:5.)” As members of the new humanity, the readers have already been reminded of the purpose to which God has called them: the hope of their calling (Eph. 1:18) requires lives which are in keeping with their high destiny (Bruce, F. F. (1984). The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (p. 333). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)

But, before giving his appeal, Paul once again refers to himself as a prisoner of the Lord (see 3:1). By mentioning his imprisonment, he gently reminds his readers that he knows the worthy Christian walk can be costly and that he has paid considerable cost himself because of his obedience to the Lord. The chains of his imprisonment limited his bodily movement, but his life was most truly controlled by the fact that it was ‘of the Lord’. (Foulkes, F. (1989). Ephesians: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 10, p. 114). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.)

• By far the prevalent presentation of Christianity in western circles from evangelism, books and other media sources is for immediate befits from Christianity. It is presented as the solution to your marriage, dealing with your kids, your job, health, wealth, mental state and on and on. Christianity can fix all the things I have just mentioned but what must be understood is that all those things are secondary to the glory of God. It is the height of irony to represent Christianity as the immediate solution to these problems, for in its name, Christianity bears the name of Christ, who was misunderstood and persecuted.

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