God’s Renewing Word of Unity in Christ Jesus
Ephesians 4:1-16: Paul encourages the followers of Christ to live in unity based on their oneness in faith. God’s people have been given special gifts to prepare them for the work of Christian service and to build up communities of faith through love.
The Unity of the Body
1I urge you, then—I who am a prisoner because I serve the Lord: live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you. 2 Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. 3Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you. 5There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6there is one God and Father of all people, who is Lord of all, works through all, and is in all.
7Each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given. 8 As the scripture says,
“When he went up to the very heights,
he took many captives with him;
he gave gifts to people.”
9Now, what does “he went up” mean? It means that first he came down to the lowest depths of the earth. 10So the one who came down is the same one who went up, above and beyond the heavens, to fill the whole universe with his presence. 11It was he who “gave gifts to people”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. 12He did this to prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ. 13And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ’s full stature. 14Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent. 15Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head. 16 Under his control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint with which it is provided. So when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love.
Today’s Key Verse: Ephesians 4:13a
And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God.
Today’s reading begins with Paul urging the Ephesians to “live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called [them]” (verse 1). According to verses 2 and 3, what is required to meet this standard? Paul admonishes the people to “build up the body of Christ” through Christian service (verse 12). What “gifts” has God given for this purpose (verse 11)?
Lord God, you are indeed one God and Father of all people. Thank you for your Holy Spirit that unites us in faith and binds us together in peace. Amen.
Ephesians 4:17-32: The apostle Paul describes the new life in Christ.