UNITY AND MATURITY IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
One of the great tragedies of the Church throughout its history has been its propensity to divide. Non-Christians are often perplexed by the plethora of denominations, the proliferation of independent churches, the times that congregations and church groups demonize other Christians over miniscule and obscure differences. Often masquerading as deeper righteousness or doctrinal purity, these divisions actually lay bear the persistence power of our fallen nature. As Paul looked at the emerging movement that was the Christian faith being planted in diverse settings, he spoke to this fundamental issue.
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
1. Why does Paul refer to himself as a prisoner for the Lord?
2. The word then is intended to connect Paul’s self-identification with the next exhortation “live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” What do you think is the calling to which he refers?
3. In the original Greek verses 1-3 are a single, i.e., to be considered a single thought; and the emphasis in the Greek really carries the thought therefore or connecting this section with what he has already told us in the first three chapters about the work of Christ. It is our calling to carry on the work of Christ in the manner of Christ. With that in mind, how do humility, gentleness, patience and forbearance come into play in the actions and attitudes of a disciple of Christ?
4. How do these attitudes and actions affect his challenge in verse 3?
5. What would be the bond of peace?
6. How does the oneness of the believers add emphasis to his argument?