For some reason, after reading Ephesians chapter 4 for probably the 20th time…my heart did a little dance. It was as though I was receiving the amazing, transcending message held within its 32 prolific verses, for the first time. Perhaps I did, or perhaps the messages from verse 1 to 32, though varied, opened my heart and spirit up to a new secret within. I’m not kidding…I got a little giddy and my heart was warm; I was propelled to hug my Bible tightly to my chest for a bit. Aglow….yes, my heart was such.
Thus, compelling me to do a study on the chapter, breaking it down into sections to make it more approachable. This post will cover verses 1-10.
The first verse tells us how Christ invites us to accept our call to serve Him:I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. The word “vocation” used here, in the Greek is klesis, an invitation in its formal form, or as we use it, calling. Paul beseeches (implores) us to walk worthy of it, as stated in verse two: With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love. We are called to Christ; invited to become part of the body of Christ.
Meekness is often misinterpreted as weakness but in the Bible it means humility (Gr. praos πράος gentle, praotes πραότητα: humility). Humility is a very necessary accomplishment in our spirit if we are to truly be a servant of the Lord and to others; to love others well and joyfully. For we are often called to do things and love people, we would not choose to, therefore we have to be gentle (kindly; amiable) in all dealings.
Verse three shows us the outcome when one is able to accomplish this amount of character, genuinely (through Christ); it creates unity and a “bond of peace.” Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Thus instigating trust. God initiates by showing us how to act, man responds accordingly. Then, when we take on the properties of our God, others respond in the way we respond to Him.
Verses four and five are basically mirrors of one another and six is the tie that binds: There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to one hope at your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. If you are called to Christ, and accept the invitation, and are then baptized by water, you are in Christ and Christ in you by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This same spirit lives in all whom have accepted Christ into their hearts. You now share that Spirit and your Faith in our Lord and our Abba Father, with all others who have proclaimed Him. THIS is how we are adopted into the body (church) of Christ and considered “family.”
I remember after I was baptized a good friend of mine, whom I’d known for at least 12 years at that point (who also handed her life to Christ some ten years earlier) called me up and excitedly said “Welcome to the family!” I was a bit hurt…I didn’t have this knowledge yet. It took me some time to truly grasp and understand that all whom are in Christ, are bound by Him. I get it so deeply now it blares. It is in the core of every Christian to gravitate toward one another, for we recognize the Spirit within one another. The cross-reference in the KJV Bible is Romans 12:5 which sums it up: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Verse seven, I believe, should be further down in the chapter as it concerns gifts of grace we are given from our God, upon accepting our calling: But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Grace usually means the unearned merit (favor) of God. But in this case it is the influence and effect of divinity upon our lives. It is how our lives reflect the way God’s grace has affected our heart; showing outwardly how grateful we are. In my case, I haven’t for a moment taken for granted all that God/my Lord has done in my life therefore, to me they are worthy of my all. They deserve to have, hold and mold – my entire being: mind, body and spirit. My soul rests in the Lord. I do all I can to reflect Him back out into the world. Worthy is the Lamb!
There is a lot of controversy surrounding verses eight, nine and ten: 8. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (9. Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10. He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Verse 8 simply means that when Jesus ascended to heaven he took darkness captive (captivity, αἰχμαλωσία, denotes prisoners) and HE received gifts to bestow upon man, by the Holy Spirit, after His resurrection. He was victorious, therefore his followers are to be as well!
Many denominations pretend verses nine and ten either do not exist or that they don’t mean, what they blatantly state. Some translate it that Jesus went to hell before he went to heaven to join The Father. I agree, he went to hell…on earth! Can you imagine being God and lowering yourself to the level of the creation you’d tried to destroy due to lack of obedience and reverence to His love and will? Well, guess what…that’s just exactly how much He DOES love us! I for one am humbled and grateful for this final act of His love, grace, mercy…shall I go on?
After Jesus died on the cross, he ascended to heaven but to get to that point, He had to descend to earth and become man. This so he could fulfill the prophecy of the Messiah. His descent was to walk humbly and take on all sin and leave behind a legacy to be carried out until His return. His ascent was to glory – what better is there than taking your place on a throne, amen!
I certainly pray this little meditation in Ephesians was beneficial and you might pass it along to others. I pray that the words of our God and the acts of our Lord, are edifying. They build you up and sustain you through your days, nights; trials and joys. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain; through His love for man, he saved us from ourselves and what a feat that is! Thank you, Abba Father for your unrelenting agape love, for your Son. For giving us wisdom, guidance and comfort through your Spirit. I praise you, Lord Jesus for all your example has done in the lives of many. Thank you, thank you, thank you for inviting us to accept your call of service and humility. We are not worthy but you most definitely are! In your precious name, amen!
Next up: Ephesians 4:11-16, Ephesians 4:17-28, Ephesians 4:29-32