Explore the Bible
with Cyndi Grace
Sunday, October 13
The first three chapters of Ephesians discussed how we are able to become connected with Christ: Grace through Faith. This theologically is referred to as Justification. Early in my walk someone told me it meant, “Just as if I never sinned.” I loved that because truly when we have Christ in our lives we can live, moving forward with our sins covered and removed by the blood of Jesus. The church at Ephesus needed that assurance. They were now saved and a part of God’s family.
As in any family, there are expectations of how family members should behave. In the next three chapters of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul will begin teaching how to live this new life. That theological term is the word: Sanctification. The Greek word is HAGIASMOS and means, “to be ‘set apart,’ in the sense of being separated from all else and dedicated for God’s use — the act or process of acquiring sanctity, of being made or becoming holy. To put in simple terms, it means we must be different than the world and that difference will show in our walk.
Paul begins his teaching by first encouraging each believer to live worthy of the call of Christ. This is done by demonstrating a godly attitude and character. Among the attitudes listed are humility, gentleness, patience, and love. To be clear, this is not to earn our worth. We could never do that but we can strive to be different from the world around us.
Paul then switches from individual attitudes to the corporate ideal of unity. In order for us to live worthy as a church body, there must be unity. Easy peasy, right? Not at all. This is a favorite area for our enemy to attack. He knows our desires and if he can cause fighting and division among us, we will be ineffective in our mission.
Jesus knew this and prayed for us in His prayer found in John 17:22-23: “[Father] I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (NIV1984). I want you to note the emboldened part. Only when we are joined together and unified with God will the world see that Christ was sent to a lost world. Only when we are joined together and unified with God will the world see that Christ was sent to a lost world. Jesus gave us His glory so that we may be one. We are to be as one for there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God. Nowhere is our opinion mentioned. Our unity is His unity and only then will the world will know.
We should grieve instead of choosing sides when there is disunity and division in our congregations because it will cause the world to look with scorn upon the church and not believe what we say. How can we become unified in our purpose? We should follow Jesus’ words in Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these” (CSB). When we fall in love with God in every part of our being, we will become intentional to do all for His glory. We put aside our personal wants and desires and lovingly come together as a congregation to jointly pray for God to show us what He wants. That brings unity.
How long has it been since your church came together to sincerely pray for God’s direction? Don’t we mostly come up with ideas based on the things we know, desire, and can afford and then offer an obligatory prayer for God’s approval? The last portion of our Scripture states that Christ ascended in victory and has given us gifts. He has plans that far exceed our ideas of what we can do. To seek His will is to trust Him. I truly believe that members of congregations come together by God’s ordaining and each member has a purpose and a gift for that congregation to accomplish the will of the Father. When we earnestly join together in prayer, God will speak jointly to us and if we follow what He says, there will be unity for God does all things well. Then the world will know why Jesus came.
Grace is a conference speaker, author, and member of First Church, Clinton.