Trinity Sunday – May 30, 2021
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
- Today we resume our exploration of Ephesians with Chapter 4:1-6.
- The text provides important reminder against the backdrop of current climate of cultural divisiveness: race, sexuality, gender, party affiliation, religion, socio-economic status.
- Our times are disconcerting and require that we pray! But they also provide a perfect opportunity to show our distinctiveness as a new community of love.
Some observations of Eph 4:1-6
- Verse 1 is the “hinge point” of the letter. “Then” is oun, “therefore”, an inferential conjunction.
- “live worthy of the calling you have received” – Described in chapters 1-3. “live” is peripateo, “walk” a Semitic idiom (cf. 2:1, 10; 4:17; 5:1,15).
- Verses 1-6 comprise one long sentence. Two parts to this text:
- An urgent admonition to preserve their unity – vv. 1-3
- A theological rationale for doing so – vv. 4-6
Verses 1-3: “Guard our unity that God has created!”
- Paul then lists four social virtues that help us guard it:
- “Be humble” – have an honest assessment of oneself: strengths, weaknesses.
- “[Be] gentle” – Opposite of “rough”. Gk. proutes: an equestrian term.
- “Be patient” – compound of thumos, “anger” and markos, “a long time.”
- “Bearing with one another in love” – “putting up with”. “In love”, agape – a love that seeks the best of the one loved, not ourselves.
- “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. A few things to note: “the unity of the Spirit” is the oneness God creates (cf. Eph 2:13-14). “Keep” – we keep or guard: we don’t create it. “Make every effort” – requires intention, effort, perseverance. It’s not easy.
Verses 4-6: “Here’s Why!” The theological rationale
- “one” used 7x in these three verses. Echoes John 17:22-23.
- Reference to the Holy Trinity. Spirit (v.4), Lord (v.5: Jesus, cf. 1:2, 3, 15, 17; 3:11; 5:20; 6:23, 24), Father (v.6).
- “one body (Paul’s metaphor: Jews and Gentiles together)… one Spirit (vs. paredroi, familiar spirits subordinate to the gods but accessible) … one hope (vs. fate)… one Lord (vs. Zeus or Artemis, called “Lord”) … one faith (common set of beliefs and practices)… one baptism (the identity marker that set Christians apart)…one God and Father of all”.
- “who is over all (sovereignty) and through all (works in all things-synergy) and in all (omnipresence).”
- In the midst of our particular cultural moment, we are being given the opportunity to model a very different way of living in community. This week, ask yourself: How can I be more intentional about loving my brothers and sisters, sharing life together, rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep, being more patient, more forgiving?