Trinity Sunday – May 30, 2021

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Scripture reading

Eph 4:1-6

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 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:
  1. An urgent admonition to preserve their unity – vv. 1-3
  2. 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:
  1. “Be humble” – have an honest assessment of oneself: strengths, weaknesses.
  2. “[Be] gentle” – Opposite of “rough”. Gk. proutes: an equestrian term.
  3. “Be patient” – compound of thumos, “anger” and markos, “a long time.”
  1. “Bearing with one another in love” – “putting up with”. “In love”, agape – a love that seeks the best of the one loved, not ourselves. 
  1. “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).”

Take away

  • 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?