by Christopher Harbin

Edifying In Love
Christopher B. Harbin
Ephesians 4:4-16

Responsibility is a word we have difficulty with. We don't like responsibility. We would much rather look to terms like entertainment and blessing. The gospel, however, calls us not only to the blessing side of life, but also to the responsibility side of life. We rejoice in love, we revel in love, but we are also called to apply love responsibly to our living. Do we really understand the level of responsibility to which we are called under the love of God?

We tend to read Biblical passages in isolation from one another. We read our favorite quotes with little to no sense of how they fit in relation to the verses and chapters that come before and after them. All too often, we end up using them in ways their authors could never have imagined. The most glaring example of that is perhaps Philippians 4:13, ''I can all things through Christ who strengthens me.'' We have often used it to defend the concept that God will empower believers to accomplish whatever goals they happen to establish, especially in regards to sporting competitions. In reality, however, Paul was making reference to being content with next to nothing. Today's passage in Ephesians is another that we often fail to respect for its context and the larger argument Paul was crafting.

Paul begins this passage with the claim that there is only one body to which we as believers belong. Paul was specifically referencing the issue of conflict between Gentile and Jewish believers. This had been his underlying theme throughout this letter to the Ephesian church. It had been God's will from before creation to become incarnate and call humanity to reconciliation with God, all of humanity, without distinction. This redemption would be based upon grace, undeserved with regard to any basis of superiority between one and another. He leaves no room for any categories that establish that any group of people is of greater or lesser worth before God. Rathe ...

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