Paul penned this epistle to the church at Ephesus, but it could have been addressed to almost any church as all churches face common issues. The Apostle describes himself as a prisoner of the Lord. As such, he beseeches individuals in the church to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they were called.
Let there be no confusion over that which the Apostle is saying. He is addressing called individuals. Who is a called individual? The called are individuals who have heard and responded to the call of the Holy Spirit. Called individuals are believers saved by the grace of God. The vocation wherewith a believer is called is usually not his employment. The same word which is translated as vocation in verse 1 is translated as calling in verse 4. The vocation of verse 1 is the ministry or ministries that the Lord has reserved for an individual.
Walking worthy of one’s calling has little to do with one’s qualifications. What qualified Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt and to give us the commandments of the law? Was it 40 years of tending sheep or slaying an Egyptian? What qualified Gideon to lead 300 men against the hoards of Midian? God provided all the qualification that Moses or Gideon would need. Both Moses and Gideon were reluctant but both answered the call and both succeeded. Both were worthy of their calling.
One’s walk is the manner in which one goes about the work which the Lord has called one to do. One’s walk is to be characterized by lowliness and meekness and by longsuffering. We are to forbear one another in love. We are to do the Lord’s work in an inoffensive manner, a manner that exhibits love and caring — a manner which reflects the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are to try to maintain unity of the Spirit with one another. The Spirit of God within each believer bears witness with the same Spirit which indwells every other believer. When the unity of the Spirit is manifest, there is a bond of peace which reaches from one individual to another. It is not God’s will that there should be barriers separating individuals whom He has called. All are unified by Christ.
Barriers to unity existed in the early church because some Jewish converts viewed themselves in the historical context of being God’s special people. Gentile converts viewed themselves as new creatures in Christ. Barriers may exist within the church of today because some esteem themselves to possess superior understandings. While not all possess the same understanding, all understanding comes from the Holy Spirit.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Paul wipes all barriers aside in verse 4. There is one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God and Father of all. There is no division in God’s calling. All are called by the same Spirit into one body. All are called in one hope of that calling. The one hope which all real Christians hold is the expectation of beholding their Lord and Savior face to face. The hope of our calling, however, is not the hope of having been called. As noted earlier, the word calling is also translated as vocation. The one hope of our vocation or of the ministry or ministries to which we are called is to draw others to embrace the saving grace of God. We are all called to exhibit the same righteous testimony. We are to exhibit the Christ, God the Son.
There is one Lord and one faith. Jesus is the Son and no man comes to the Father except by Him.
All who are saved have been given the gift of grace. The measure of the gift of salvation is the same for each individual. It is by that gift that men know God. There are spiritual gifts which are given to men for God’s purposes. He who was victorious over the grave has given spiritual gifts to men. There are different spiritual gifts (v. 11), but the purpose for which each gift is given (perfecting of the saints, the work of the ministry and edification of the church) is to bear witness of the unity of all believers in Christ. Again, the purpose is to magnify the Son such that all men might know the Father.
Spiritual gift giving did not cease in the first century. It continues today and shall continue “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13). Spiritual gifts shall be given until grace is no longer needed.
It is His will that we mature in Him and speak the truth in love. His will for the church is that each part work in harmony with every other part such that the whole body shall increase and edify itself in love.
While we pray that His will be done, our prayers are empty and unanswered unless we do our part. Let our actions, our walk, be characterized by lowliness and meekness and longsuffering and forbearing. Paul, a prisoner of the Lord, was most certainly worthy of his calling. Let us be, likewise, worthy of our callings.