Summary: The Bible uses the term "walk" to mean more than shoe-leather express. It means how we live.
Three times the Bible gives us this command. We see it also in Colossians 1:10-14; then, we see it again in 1 Thessalonians 2:12. The immediate question arises as to how we might possibly walk worthy, and what does the phrase, “the calling with which you were called,” mean?
I want to spend the bulk of my time on the command to walk worthy, but first, think with me for a moment on the calling with which we are called.
We have been called to be saved. Have you ever taken a concordance and studied the word, “called,” in the Bible? The word is used some 600 times, so it is not an insignificant word. It’s interesting to look through the opening remarks in the letters of the New Testament. Romans 1:7 says, “To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints.” This, of course, doesn’t mean the letter is addressed to every individual in Rome, but it is addressed to those who are “called to be saints.” First Corinthians 1:2 says, “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints...” Galatians 1:6 says, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ...” First Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” There are more, but that’s enough to get you into the flow of the idea that God has called us to salvation. We didn’t just rise up one day and decide, “I think I’ll get saved today,” but we were called out by God’s grace through the working of the Holy Spirit. As a Christian, you are God’s called.
Not only have we been called to be saved, but we have been called to be sanctified and to serve. The text at which we look today takes in all of this, as we see in the explanation provided by these verses that follow. We’ve been given a gift, and we’ve been given a responsibility. God is worthy of any and every demand that He would ever make of us. The ultimate reason for doing everything we do in obedience to Him is His worthiness! We send out missionaries, not primarily because of the poor sinners who need to be saved, even though they are, and they do, but the main reason is because our God commanded it, and He is worthy of our instant and full obedience.
Immediately after the Apostle Paul beseeches us to walk worthy of the calling with which we have been called, he begins to explain how this is to be carried out. I remind you that the word “walk” doesn’t simply mean shoe leather express. It means the way we live our life. There are five specific ways in which we are to walk, or live, by which we can fulfil our worthy walk.
Ephesians 4:2-16 speaks of walking in unity. Jesus said, in Matthew 12:25, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Disunity is causing more trouble in God’s kingdom than any other single thing. The unsaved sinners of this world look at Christians who can’t get along with each other, and they quickly conclude that they don’t need what those Christians have to offer. In John 17:21, Jesus was praying for us, and He said, “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” If the Bible didn’t say one other thing about unity, that verse ought to convince every one of us how important unity is among believers. But notice it is, as Ephesians 4:3 says, “...the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” This is not conformity for the sake of peace, it is agreeing to follow the leadership of God! Each of us have our particular spiritual gifts, but these are to be put together in such a way that we operate as a body of faith. Are you a peacemaker? Nothing less could be counted as walking worth of the calling with which you have been called.
Ephesians 4:17-32 tells us to walk in purity. There are a number of “old life characteristics” that we need to put off like we were taking off dirty clothes, and then there are some “new life characteristics” that we are to put on. This doesn’t happen automatically, if it did we would not have the command to do it. This is something that we have to do on purpose, and it is part of living by faith. It is faith to follow God in the way we form our opinions, make our decisions, and rule our lives.