… walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering …
Having seen how a proper understanding of theology and Christian doctrine leads to our desire to live a holy and obedient life, we come now to consider the character of that new life we are to live. Paul sums it up with one exhortation: walk worthy of the calling with which you were called. While speaking in terms of being worthy of the Gospel, Paul is not here suggesting that anyone may merit the grace of God. In this context, worthy means fitting or appropriate. The exhortation to walk worthily is one which exhorts us to walk in a manner keeping with our new nature and family name. Our lives are to be a physical display, a practical expression of the reality of God’s power in us.
“Walk” is a word characteristic of the second half or the book of Ephesians. It is used in the Bible to describe the course of one’s life. In Genesis, for example, it is said that Enoch, walked with God. The apostle John reminds us that we are to walk even as Jesus walked (1 Jn 2:6). To walk worthy of the calling with which you were called means to live in a manner that is consistent with the great revealed doctrinal truths associated with our calling in Christ. It is an exhortation to holiness, to service, and to sonship.
Exactly how this worthy walk is manifested is going to be the subject of the remainder of the epistle, but Paul’s immediate concern here is for the unity of the church. A central element of our new life in Christ, is the unity of our relationship with one another in the body of Christ. In verses 4-6 of Ephesians 4, Paul will emphasize the importance of our being one body in unity. Toward this end of unity in the church, he accentuates three qualities which we must exercise in order to attain that unity: lowliness, gentleness, and patience. All three of these qualities are required in order for the church to not only get along, but be unify under the banner of Christ.
Where there is pride in the church, be sure that contention abounds (Prov 13:10); but where there is lowliness and humility, each member seeks to use the gifts he has received for humble service of others and the mutual edification of the church. Where anger and haughtiness exist, people live their lives separately and independently; but where gentleness or meekness and quiet restraint is the rule, there is peace and joy and an atmosphere conducive for true fellowship. Where there is impatience, there is division, as we give up on one another and relationships fall apart; but where patience flourishes, we can bear with one another in love.
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