Ephesians 4 reads like a call to arms, a mission given to us as believers complete with instructions for living out our faith and what that should look like.
This mission is critical. The way we live out our faith is what a lost world will see. Paul, the author of Ephesians knows this, and asks us to live a life worthy of that call (vs 1). Ephesians 4 is a descriptive passage explaining what the mission is and what we are to do as followers, but it is also prescriptive in that it explains how we are to accomplish the mission.
How are we to live in a manner worthy of our call, worthy of this task God has given us, worthy to act as ambassadors of Christ? Unity is a key component.
We are to work to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (vs 3). We are instructed to maintain, not create, the unity among believers. Believers are already united in Christ, and the goal is to keep it that way.
Why is maintaining unity among believers necessary? Four reasons, though there most assuredly are more:
- From unity the body of Christi will function correctly. Paul gives a great description of what a healthy body of believers do. They speak the truth in love, they grow, build each other up, they are kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving.
- Disunity grieves the Holy Spirit of God. When we do not have unity among believers, it literally grieves the Holy Spirit. Disunity makes the Holy Spirit ache.
- Not only are we commanded to do so, but unity among believers was what Jesus prayed for all believers (John 17). Jesus is at the right hand of God still interceding on our behalf praying for unity. If for no other reason, we should pursue unity because it’s what Jesus wants.
- Unity is also how the world will know Jesus. John 17:23 “I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”
We live in an age where Christians across denominations seem to be the complete opposite of unified. Church splits, name calling–this is disunity, and it grieves the Holy Spirit.
How is unity possible?
Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to love God, and to love others (Matthew 22:37-39). Start with love, and unity will flow.