ONE, ONE, ONE, ONE, ONE, ONE, ONE (get the point?) – Friday, 29th week in ordinary time – Ephesians 4:1-6
A single word, “therefore” (4:1) becomes the hinge of the book of Ephesians. “Therefore” indicated that so far there was a cause and hence there should be an effect. The cause was seen in chapter 1-3, the effect is seen in chapters 4-6. Chapters 4-6 are primarily a series of ethical admonitions. It differs from the first half of the book in style and content.
The cause so far has been the graciousness of God who by his love adopted the Gentiles to be co heirs in his inheritance. Now there is a shared identity between Jews and Gentiles with Christ as the binding force. So far, the Gentiles had lived a hopeless and an ungodly existence. Now, they have been immersed in the grace of God through the mystery of Christs’ death and resurrection. Now the Gentiles are members of new household.
God has brought together two disparate groups under one plan of salvation. While both Jews and Gentiles once lived according to the flesh (2:3), Jews were nevertheless “near” to God, while Gentiles were “far off” (2:17). Through Christ, both groups are now joined together and draw nearer to God. Since this is the case, the word “therefore” indicates the effect that is expected of Jews and Gentiles; to live their calling, to be what God wanted them to be, united and one.
It is Christ who has called us. This is unmerited divine election. If that be so, if we truly understand how much God has done for us, our natural response would be a life of service and obedience. This would be an expression of our gratitude. Paul earnestly pleads with the Ephesians to live this life ‘worthy of their calling” We don’t walk worthy so that God will love us, but because He does love us. Our walk must be motivated out of gratitude, not out of a desire to earn merit.
Paul places the calling clearly before the Ephesians. He tells them that the hallmark of the Church and of all creation is unity. This unity must be maintained, it involves making “an effort” so that the bond of peace may be achieved. All of this may fit neatly in a sentence but the achievement of this unity comes with dedicated hard work.