Ephesians 4:1-3 (NASB)
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
In the first three chapters of Ephesians, Paul began by revealing that God has chosen, from among Jews and Gentiles, a people for himself who are united into one body, the church. Paul uses the conjunction “therefore” to express what we should do since we are all of one body. God has honored us as much as a creature can be honored. He has seated us with Christ in the heavenlies to rule and reign with Christ forever and ever. God has done so much for us that He could do no more than what He has done.
Paul’s appeal to the church is to lead a life worthy of your calling. Believers are first encouraged to have a proper attitude toward unity and then are shown how the three persons of the Trinity serve as the basis of this unity in verses 4:4–6.
First, believers are to be humble. Before Christ, pride engendered deep divisions between Jews and Gentiles, humility engenders unity among them. The supreme example of humility is Christ (Phil 2:6–8).
Second, along with humility believers are to exhibit gentleness or meekness, the opposite of roughness. This word does not imply that one should become a “doormat.” The quality Paul is speaking of as a moral virtue. This quality of gentleness is seen in Jesus, who was gentle and humble in heart. We also should make allowance for each other’s faults because of our love. Tolerance or “making allowance” carries an authoritative force and appears to relate back to leading a life worthy of one’s calling, implying that it is accomplished by tolerance through love.
Third, believers are to display patience. Patience is achieved only by means of a true perspective of hope. Farmers wait patiently for the anticipated harvest. The Old Testament prophets waited patiently for God to act. We hope for the everlasting resurrected life.
No doubt there remained many such differences between the Jewish and the gentile groups, even as in today’s church with all its diverse elements. Obedience to this exhortation eliminates resentment among members within the body of Christ. We are unified under one faith, and one Christ. Believers are to keep or maintain the unity established by the Holy Spirit in a bond consisting of peace. In the present context, Paul states that this unity was achieved by the Holy Spirit and is exhibited in a bond that consists of peace, by which believers will lovingly maintain relationships with each other in spite of our differences. The only way to walk worthy of God’s great calling is to work at keeping the peace and unity which God has given us. Nothing wounds the heart of God like divisiveness between His people, divisiveness which tears apart His church. The very thing God is doing is creating a new body of people to live together in the love and unity of His Son. He is going to create a new heavens and earth in which there will be no other spirit. Therefore, He expects us to live in the love and unity of His Spirit now.