September 25 - Unity and Growth of the Body
Paul begins this section of his letter by urging believers to walk worthy of their calling in Christ. This calling is a calling to the believing community, a body made up of different parts, a family of siblings with God as Father and Jesus as Brother, a body with Christ as Head and a body that is to grow up and mature. Later on, Paul elaborates on this call: “you were called to one hope”, i.e. the call to “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all”.
In earlier chapters, Paul explains the mystery of Christ which is the Gentiles becoming fellow heirs and members of the same body as the Jewish believers. They are now in the same body and the same family. The cross of Christ has broken the dividing wall so that Gentiles and Jews may become one. For Paul, Jews and Gentiles represents all humanity. So when God calls a person, He calls him into a unified body. They are “the called out ones” (ecclesia in Greek), called out of the world to form a unique Christian community, the church.
To be a Christian yet unable to unite with other believers is an utmost contradiction to his calling. We are called to unite, not to divide. God is one and He wants all His children to be one. Jesus prayed for our unity in John 17 and that is the heart of God and the content of our calling. To believe is not just for going to heaven but to be a part of a united whole, growing to maturity with other saints within that believing community called the church.
To do so, we must walk with humility and gentleness, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. God through the Holy Spirit has already granted us the Spirit of unity and the bond of peace through Christ dying on the cross. Our job is to maintain them by the grace given to us by God. In the church, God has given gifted persons to equip the saints for the ministry. They are for the building up of the body of Christ, the church. The goal is to attain to the unity in faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Unity is not something good to have and we can do without. The growth of the church and the Kingdom of God depend on it. Without unity, churches do not grow. The devil is keen on bringing disunity in the Christian community through human pride and conflicts of all kinds. When there is disunity, the body of Christ is not mature, acting like little children. Do you know that you have a part in the unity of your church? Begin to pray for its unity and maturity. Are you humble, gentle, forbearing and loving? If so, you are walking in your calling and God is pleased with what you are doing. If not, begin to walk in your calling now.
Ps 106:24-31 Isa 45:11-48:11 Eph 4:1-16 Prov 24:3-4