Ephesians 4:1-6

I therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4.1-6

What is the end of the Christian life? What is that magnificent destination toward which we set sail? And what is that prevailing wind that carries us there? If the final end of the Christian life were forgiveness of sins, we would have salvation from sin but what greater reality would we be saved to that would spur us to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling” we have received? In such case we would remain adrift, lost in between the shores of former slavery to sin but never arriving to know and enjoy the freedom of any other shore. It would be as though a child is rescued from an abusive home by a noble rich man but is not welcomed into the rest and security of that man’s home, and is instead, expected to be compelled by gratitude to live as an upstanding citizen while wandering the streets without a home.

Forgiveness of sins is not the final end of the Christian life. The final end is fellowship with God and participation in the Trinitarian life of love and peace.

But forgiveness of sins is not the final end of the Christian life. The final end is fellowship with God and participation in the Trinitarian life of love and peace. Not only is this the end of the Christian life—the magnificent destination toward which we have embarked—it is also the wind that carries us there.

The apostle Paul has previously said that the end of knowing the love of Christ is being filled with the fullness of God (Ephesians 3.9). This incomprehensible end—being filled with the fullness of the Triune God—is the “calling to which you have been called” (4.1). In verse 1, Paul is urging the church towards the Trinitarian life, and in the following verses he is describing the manifestations of the Trinitarian life. See how rich the language of love and unity and peace and oneness—“bearing with one another in love,” “unity of the Spirit,” “bond of peace,” “one body and one Spirit,” “one hope,” “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.” Such love and unity and peace and oneness should mark the church because it marks the one God who is Father, Son and Spirit who has delivered his people from bondage to sin to fellowship with Him and participation in His life of love and unity and peace and oneness.

Love and unity and peace and oneness should mark the church because it marks the one God who is Father, Son and Spirit who has delivered his people from bondage to sin to fellowship with Him and participation in His life of love and unity and peace and oneness.

And we have not been left adrift without a wind to carry us along towards these shores. Where God has saved us from our former life of sin and death, He has also saved us to Himself and His eternal life. The underserving orphan has been invited and welcomed into the household of the King. We have been given a new name and a new identity so that all God demands of us is that we act in accordance with the name and identity we have in Him. The God of all love has redeemed us for Himself. Therefore, we can and should love one another. The Triune God who exists in perfect unity as Father, Son and Spirit has adopted us. Therefore, we can and should maintain the unity of the Spirit. The God of all peace has drawn us to Himself. Therefore, we can and should uphold the bond of peace within the church. For by doing so, we both act in accordance with the calling to which we have been called by God and participate in the very life of God in a way that beckons the world to look and see what God is like. Indeed, in this way we bear the image of the One—the God Man—who is the express image of God and reflect Him in the world.

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