“… Walk in manner worthy of the calling to which to you been called …” (Ephesians 4:1).
One is the only-iest number according to the Word of God, especially in Chapter 4 of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Sorry for the ancient Three Dog Night pop culture reference there at the start. I couldn’t help myself. I know you are probably humming along now to that old tune – “One is the loneliest number you could ever do …” Forgive me, and please read on.
In Ephesians 4, Paul is making a point about “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). This oneness comes through the love of Christ that should operate in His Body, the Church.
Through the first part of Ephesians, the emphasis of Paul is upon what we have been given as believers. In the next chapters, the focus is on living out the reality of who God made us to be.
The mystery of Christ revealed at that time began the formation of the Church. God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, rescued each of us and established us in Him. Out of darkness we were delivered and made to dwell in His marvelous Light.
The Reality of Light
Light is among the most mysterious of all things. It is beyond human comprehension and has been since God first spoke it – God said, Let there be Light and there was Light (Genesis 1:1). Light is and to it nothing can be added. Just a small flicker of a candle can be seen even at some distance.
There’s unity in the Light and also diversity, as a prism reveals. The glass reveals that white Light possesses a spectrum of colors that exist in combination. One of Sir Isaac Newton’s most important research projects centered on the nature of Light as more than just wave, but as being of color and particle as well. His conclusions would be challenged and debated and reexamined, but they would lead to the understanding that served in the development of laser technology. That is, Light in concentration can cut and penetrate.
The Church’s design is to be a concentration of holy Light in a world that lies passively in the clutches and control of the prince of darkness, the wicked one, the liar king. And so God seeks to bring saints together as One Body serving under the direction of the One Head, Jesus Christ, who gave His One life for us all.The goodness and pleasantness of communion should be the revelation that the world sees among the flock that He shepherds Click To Tweet
This is what Paul began to address in the second half of Ephesians. The goodness and pleasantness of communion should be the revelation that the world sees among the flock that He shepherds.
Shalom is a Hebrew word we usually equate with the meaning of peace or of hello. Actually, shalom means wholeness. This is the purpose of God. His purpose of redemption was to reconcile the fractures that came to our world through the Fall of Man in the Garden.
Made in the image of God, made alive by the breath of the Lord, human beings can know nothing of fulfillment apart of a relationship with the One Lord, the One God and Father of all. This comes about by our knowledge of the Son of God through One faith and One baptism.
Known by Love
One, one, one, one—there’s that word again and again and again and again.
Jesus told His disciples that Oneness in love would be the thing that would make people curious about Him and His followers. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).
This is what the Finished Work of Christ is all about. When He announced, “It is Finished” on the Cross that Good Friday long ago, Jesus completed His mission in fulfilling every jot and tittle of the Law of the Lord. The human life that He offered was one without spot or wrinkle. He was perfect in all of His ways–not once did think or act in disorder.
That is the Perfection He has now gifted to us by His grace. By this grace, we can choose to behave with all humility and gentleness and patience, bearing one another in love.
Psalm 133 is the great song of union. It describes the sense of the oneness of God’s people as “oil” and “dew.”
Oil softens and heals and flows down from the Head and to the edges of the robes of righteousness Christ has put upon us. There’s a fragrance to this oil. The smell of it commands attention in the same way the oil poured on Jesus’ feet filled the room with its aroma in Bethany (see John 12). Mary lavished her love on her Savior with this service, pouring the oil on Him and wiping His feet with her hair.
Not everyone was as blessed as the Savior was by this demonstration. This manner of love does disturb those with divided hearts – see Judas’ reaction of scorn and distaste in John’s account.
Oneness also comes like dew, according to Psalm 133. Quietly, just as the dark of night is about to lift, the droplets arrive. They are drawn forth by the warmth of the sun on the cool grass. They offer refreshment to the parched earth. Lambs lick up all the dew they can get as they are led to pasture.
Dew, water, it’s the stuff of life. And the true and everlasting living water is the Word of God.
Put the Truth of the Scriptures together with the oil of the Spirit and what do we get? A Whole Body that is “joined and held together by every joint that is supplied, each part working properly and growing as it is built up in love” (Ephesians 4:16).
The Lord makes this happens with the gifts He supplies to His people. He raises pastors and teachers. He forms churches and gatherings. He draws together people from every tribe and tongue and nation, using messengers and evangelists and faithful, courageous friends who share and lay down their lives for each other.
Futile, dark minds are enlightened with understanding from above. A renewal comes that brings a spirit of thinking that is holy and right. We are enabled to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Away goes bitterness, malice, and all wrath. We are freely forgiven and enabled to freely forgive – even our enemies. Kindness and tenderheartedness reign among those who are One with Christ.