Read Ephesians 5:1-7
Previously I talked about how Christians should live in light of their faith in Christ. In today's reading, Paul continues to instill in the Ephesian Gentiles the importance of how they behaved regarding their newfound faith.
Again, the Ephesian believers Paul was talking to came out of idol worship and paganism that employed some of the lewdest and detestable acts you could ever imagine. It was, therefore, imperative that Paul drove home that their previous behaviour of "devotion" (lewd acts, drinking blood, debauchery, orgies, etc.) towards their former gods was unacceptable to the one true God. He continues from Ephesians chapter four with more advice for them on how to behave. He begins with an appropriate admonishment in the first two verses - "Be imitators of God, as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma."
Read Ephesians 4:17-32
If you have followed along with me in Ephesians, you will have begun to notice a theme Paul had with this letter - one of unity within the body of Christ. In my last post, we learned how each Christian's spiritual gifts are to be used - to equip us for ministry and to edify each other in the Lord. With the theme of unity and spiritual gifts in mind, Paul now tells the Ephesians (and us) how we should be "walking the walk" as followers of Jesus Christ.
Read Ephesians 4:7-16
In my last post, we learned that we have been called to walk in unity with each other. For the Ephesian Christians, this was quite a challenge. Not only were these Gentile converts coming out of paganism and idol worship, but they were adopting for themselves the promises God gave to the Jews. This ultimately caused friction between the Gentile converts and the Jewish converts, which the apostles solved by giving them only three rules to obey: that they abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from eating animals that were strangled, and from blood (Acts 15:19-20). There was wisdom in this edict because what the Gentiles had come out of (idol worship) involved all those sorts of practices.
But Paul reminds them that there is now one Lord, one faith and one baptism. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all (Ephesians 4:6).
And in today's verses, we are shown how God makes that unity possible. We learn in Ephesians 4:7 that to each, "grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift." For the church to remain unified, each member was (and still is) bestowed "a measure of grace," or a gift from God, to be used by each individual to create unity within the body of Christ. So what gifts of grace were available to the early church, and are they still available to us today?
What are Spiritual Gifts