(part 2)

“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

As I share these thoughts, I am not one who has it all figured out. No human, man or woman, “has it all figured out.” Humans encourage. God through Jesus Christ models. Appreciating human examples of godly influence is appropriate. However, Christians revere only one model: God’s actions and behavior through Jesus Christ.

The powerful affirmation of God’s love for us is found in Romans 5:8. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

While we were everything God is not, before we committed to any solution God gave for our salvation, before we pledged to transform our emotions or behavior, God paid the full price for our forgiveness at enormous cost to Himself. God loved us while we were His enemies. In the same context, Paul asked, “How can you doubt His commitment to you when God loved you enough to forgive you prior to your commitment to conversion?”

The relevant point to Christians as we define godly love is this: If God loves us that much, how much should we love other Christians? How much should we love people?

Love is not a weak emotion and behavior! It is infinitely challenging! To love believing, penitent, baptized Christians with whom we disagree is an enormous challenge! It is extremely difficult to understand that Christians cannot represent God’s truth by attacking people! Such does not reflect the way God in Christ functions!

In the Ephesians scripture, note Paul’s concepts. (1) There is a fitting and unfitting way for Christians to behave. (2) Fitting Christian behavior includes humility, gentleness, and patience. (3) Godly patience forbears [endures each other’s faults]. (4) Such humility, gentleness, and patience are possible in Christians because [like God] their love for one another is greater than the faults they observe. (5) These qualities preserve unity and bind Christians together in peace.

They are not unified because they conform. They are unified because their love for each other comes from God’s love for all of them. They do not live in peace because they agree on everything. They live in peace because God’s love is the source of their peace.

Anyone can live in unity and peace with those who agree with them. Only the godly can live in unity and peace with those who do not agree with them.

The #1 holy manner in Christians is to act with love—even when we endure the unlovable!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 3 May 2007

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