Continue fervently attentive to1 the unity of the Pneuma 2 in the joint bond of peace.
|1||Fervently attentive to: Or, KJV: endeavoring to keep; ASV: giving diligence to keep; ALT: earnestly striving to maintain; WMS: continuing with eager earnestness to maintain. This is more than a passing, casual interest in Church unity. It is something to be diligent and earnest about.|
|2||The unity of the Pneuma: Or, RHM: oneness of the Spirit; CON: unity of the Spirit; TCN: unity given by the Spirit. God’s Pneuma causes only one result: loving unity.|
Dear Friends of the Nazarene,
We choose Ephesians 4:3 as the theme verse of the chapter – Body Unity. How does Christ through his disciples bring about unity in the Christian Church? In chapter four Paul; explains the various elements needed to attain harmony among the fellowship. He begins with encouragement to make the unity of the spirit as an object of attention. [1-6] He then lists some reasons why this oneness should occur among Christians: there is one body, one Pneuma, one hope, one Master, one faith, one baptism, and one God. These should all be unifying factors within the Body of Christ.
However, God through Christ has provided something else to achieve this unity: gifts in the form of men given to people in the Church. [7-10] What are these “gifts” and what is their purpose? Paul lists apostles, prophets, evangelizers, shepherds and teachers. [11-16] These “gift in men” were to aid the Church to become readjusted so the Saints could do His work. In this way the Church would be built up until all attain unity of faith and knowledge. These gifts would help each member of Christ’s Church grow into spiritual maturity after the pattern of Christ himself. Thus, Church members were not to remain spiritual infants tossed this way and that by “every wind of teaching.” Though Christ is the Head of the Church each individual member of the Body must contribute to the growth of the Body in constructive love.
Body unity can never be achieved in Church members do not avoid worldly conduct. [17-19] Minds fill with vanity and dulled hearts will only create disunity. Such people are recognized by their loose conduct and desire for what is unclean. True followers of the Head will “make the truth their own.” [20-24] Such education will be manifest in removing the clothes of that old person who once belonged to the world. The disciple who wishes unity will renew his/her disposition and attitude and thus “put on the new person” marked by righteousness and loyalty.
Since it is the holy Pneuma that works to create unity a disciple cannot “grieve” the force and pressure of God’s thoughts. Paul lists what disciples should and should not do: speak truthfully, avoid prolong provocation, allow no room for the Devil, work hard so you can be charitable, avoid rotten remarks, be constructive in speech. Certain characteristics should be removed from the Christians “new person” – bitterness, animosity, revenge, shouting, slander, harmfulness. These should be replaced with forgiveness and compassion. [31, 32]
Abba our Father bless each “new person.”
[4 July 2002]
An outward unity, which does not secure peace, cannot be the unity of the Spirit.