Ephesians 4 is a very beautiful chapter. Paul is telling us how to live together in unity and peace. There is much good instruction here. However, I don’t notice anywhere here that he says we should all believe exactly the same thing about everything. In verse 4 he says
“Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
That sounds nice doesn’t it. We are to be in peace and harmony with one another and this brings us into the unity of the spirit. There is no talk here of everyone being forced to admit that they believe everything the way some corporate body teaches it. That is not to say that correct teaching is not important. However, it is impossible for everyone in the world to believe the exact same things about everything. There are some things that we must believe, and that is that Jesus is the Son of God and he died for our salvation. There are key points in this that are very important. Ye must be born again. However, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, it might be important, but not essential to salvation, the way we believe on many other points. In this matter it is important that we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.
Peace. That is very important. In the business of demanding unity in belief and practice, we often make the mistake of losing our peace. We begin to pass judgment, disfellowship and condemn those who are loving God with all of their hearts. How can we be doing this and yet keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace? Let us look further into the chapter:
v. 7 “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”
That’s very interesting. To every one of us. Not to some, or those who admit to a certain belief, but to every one of us. Can we recognize and acknowledge the grace of God in our fellow Christians, or do we feel compelled to snatch it back from those who see things differently than we do? There are differences of opinion often, but these are not reason to break fellowship. There is something beautiful in loving all people. It warms our hearts and draws us closer to God. Why do some of us take pleasure in judging others and setting them aside? Is it because in so doing we elevate ourselves and feel so much better about our position? Maybe we need a good lesson in humility and peace.
v. 13 says “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”
Coming to this perfection, this fulness of Christ is a beautiful milestone. We do this as we come to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God. We do not do it as we judge and eliminate all who do not receive our opinion of things. We do not come into perfection and the fulness of Christ as we exclude and shun. Judge, exclude, shun, etc, are negative terms. Our lives should be lived in the context of positive terms, such as peace, love, acceptance, faith, knowledge, etc. I believe our lives should be defined in positive terms, rather than negative terms. I think we should be able to admit that we fellowshipped with a large number of Christians in the last year, and perhaps learned from them, rather than to boast that we benched 20 ministers, expelled 500 people, and made a quantity of new rules. Does anyone agree with me?
In Ephesians 4 Paul gives a very good outline of what it means to be a Christian. It should not be too hard to understand. There are many teachings that are important, but unless we can keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, these things amount to very little. Being right is not the most important thing. Excluding others is very questionable. Loving one another, with tenderness and kindness is of great value. The next time your ministers ask you to participate in passing judgment on someone for a difference of opinion, stop and think very carefully about what you are doing. This 4th chapter of Ephesians tells us that we are to be fitly joined together in love. Ponder whether or not it is truly love that leads us to examine a brother under a microscope, find a fault, and then send him out of the church because he does not line up with our idea of what is right. This happens, my friends, and you know it’s true.
The last two verses of the chapter leave us with very good advice;
v. 31, 32. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”