"I urge you to be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." –Ephesians 4:3
We live in a world of chaos. The trampling herd of people chasing pleasures apart from God plays out and takes unpredictable turns in moods and mindsets of the victims in its wake. But we followers of Jesus are gifted by the Holy Spirit a peace. We enjoy the gift God’s peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:7). Paul urges here in Ephesians 4 that the peace that you and I enjoy with God as a gift is to be maintained in unity as a bond of peace with one another.
But why? Why must we strive to enjoy peace in the local church? What purpose is there of God to urge me to maintain peace with other sinners saved by grace, even and especially when it’s hard? Why be humble, gentle, patient, and bear with others in love (vs 2)?
Paul says it is in keeping with a life worthy of the salvation I received (vs 1). To use my Holy Spirit giftedness to the gospel mission of the local church, being an actively loving and serving member of the church to equip saints for gospel service and build one another up to maturity in Christ-likeness (12-13). This maturing process, which is found in the increasing knowledge of the Son of God, means that the church has immature followers of Jesus in our midst.
How well do we know one another? Do you patiently listen to or voice confessions of weaknesses in your faith? How do you give good counsel to trouble in other’s lives? How well do you receive biblical challenges from others to be closer to Christ?
Oftentimes, we gather for worship together all spiritually limping in wounded from our world of chaos. So, maintain our bond of peace, my beloved, by being a safe place, a refuge, a healing place. How? By increasing one another’s knowledge of the Son of God, Paul says. Be humble toward one another. Patient toward one another. Gentle toward one another. And bear with one another in love. Let us be the safe place for one another by being in Christ in the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Sunday morning may be the only peaceful moment a struggling young mother has this week. Or someone wrestling with drama at work. Or a teen pressured by friends at school. Or someone with a private internal wound. Let us be a safe place of God’s peace to one another. We are commanded to love as Christ loves us (John 15:12), and by His Spirit our Lord gifts to us all that He requires. If you lack peace and love, ask in His name.
Heavenly Father, grant us peace to rest in Your sovereign might through our Lord Jesus Christ. May the peace we enjoy with You be enjoyed together in unity. Teach us Your Word, equip us for Your mission, and fill us with Your love that our church may be a safe and healing place of Your peace. Amen.