Vol. 15 No. 26
The Believer’s Walk Based on His High Calling
In vs. 2-3 we are given the virtues, characteristics, or attributes of the Supergrace believer as he applies the Bible doctrine found in the Royal Family Honor Code for the Church Age believer towards others, especially believers who are part of the body of Christ.
Eph 4:2, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love.”
Last week we noted the first two virtues of “Humility & Gentleness.”
This week we complete the next 5 virtues.
3.) “With patience.”
Here we have the next mental attitude we are to have, which is patience. It begins with the Preposition of Associations, META, once again, for “with,” showing the inclusiveness of our next two characteristics, “patience and forbearance” with the first two, “humility and gentleness,” as it connotes association or accompaniment.
This second prepositional phrase begins with the mental attitude of “patience,” the Genitive Singular Noun MAKROTHUMIA, μακροθυμία, (mak-roth-oo-mee’-ah), that means, “long-suffering, forbearance, patience, or endurance.” It comes from MAKROS that means, “long,” and THUMOS that means, “heart or mind,” in the sense of spirit, feelings, disposition, or mentality. It means, self-restraint before proceeding to action, and “patience or endurance,” when used as an object as here and “long-suffering or forbearance,” when used as a subject.
Patience is used in respect to persons; your attitude towards them, while endurance is putting up with things or circumstances. It means that the Supergrace believer is patient with those around them even if they malign, judge, seek to hurt him, or in some other way are obnoxious.
This too, is one of the “fruits of the Spirit,” and it is a quality of love, as in our verse and 1 Cor 13:4; Gal 5:22-23; Col 3:12; cf. 2 Tim 4:2. Here it is a social virtue, along with forbearance, expressing the ability to be patient with the weaknesses of other people, Rom 2:4; 9:22; Gal 5:22; Eph 4:2; Col 1:11; 3:12; 1 Tim 1:16; 2 Tim 4:2; Heb 6:12; James 5:10; 2 Peter 3:15; Prov. 25:15; Isa 57:15; Jer 15:15.
This is in contrast to the unbridled passion that takes the law into one’s own hands in order to seek revenge. It means being patient and lenient toward others even when self-vindication may appear justified. In addition, it is conjoined with faith in the certainty of God’s promise, 2 Tim 3:10; Heb 6:12, and it speaks of “endurance, patient waiting for God in the face of adversity,” 2 Cor 6:6; James 5:10.
4.) “Showing forbearance to one another.”
This is another action we take towards others, based on having the mental attitude of patience. In fact, it is a mental attitude itself, but is the outworking of that attitude where we do not take immediate action towards others and instead show patience in the situation.
It is the Present, Middle, Participle in the Nominative, Plural, Masculine of ANECHOMAI, ἀνέχομαι that means, “to bear with, forbear, tolerate, receive, accept, to have patience with,” and ALLELON that means, “each other or one another.” ANECHOMAI is used 15 times in the N.T. in differing situations. It is used here and in Col 3:13 by Paul to admonish believers to tolerate and love each other and to have a forgiving attitude toward each other. It means to put up with things that are not pleasant, to take up the slack, to restrain yourself, or to endure.
Col 3:13, “Bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.”
If believers learn to endure the small drawbacks and irritations of everyday life, you will be prepared to endure the great trials and testing, (i.e., thought, people, system and disaster testing – sickness, persecution, death,), when they come!
Having to deal with difficult and unbelieving men was a tribulation so heavy that Jesus, as well as the apostle Paul, found it almost unbearable. Yet through the Word of God and by means of the Holy Spirit, they were able to endure such hostilities to the glory of God the Father.
Opposition from the world is often expressed by intense and direct persecution. Paul wrote concerning this: “Being persecuted, we suffer it,” 1 Cor 4:12. Paul also praised the assembly in Thessalonica because of their “endurance” during persecutions and tribulations, 2 Thes 1:4.
2 Thes 1:4, “Therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.”
Endurance also has to do with the intake of Bible Doctrine. Paul wrote that a time would come when men would not endure sound doctrine. It is a great puzzle that tolerance of erroneous doctrine often is the companion of rejection of sound Biblical doctrine, as it is today. This attitude is prevalent in the last days. Therefore, it is of vital importance that believers “endure” the Word of God, even when it does not taste sweet! The book of Hebrews asks the believer to “suffer the word of exhortation,” Heb 13:2, which literally asks them to endure this word of exhortation, (Bible doctrine).
The “patience showing forbearance” is part of the Royal Family Honor Code that demands the believer distinguish between the essentials and the nonessentials. The essentials are faith, love, and Bible doctrine; the non‑essentials become everything else in life.
Therefore, patience and forbearance means you must be flexible with the non-essential things of life. Flexibility gives you capacity to tolerate all the weirdos, legalists, holy rollers, unbelievers, those antagonistic towards God and His Word, etc. Yet, you must always be inflexible about the essentials, (faith, love, and Bible doctrine).
Jesus distinguished between the essentials and the non‑essentials when he put the busybody woman of Luke 11:27‑28 in her place. She introduced a non‑essential. The Lord replied with what was essential, hearing and retaining the Word of God.
Luke 11:27-28, “And it came about while He said these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice, and said to Him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts at which You nursed.’ 28But He said, ‘On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it’.”
Inflexibility in non‑essentials destroys empires, people, and virtue.
Rom 8:33‑36, tells us that the Royal Family Honor Code demands inflexibility regarding doctrine and flexibility regarding nonessentials. See also Rom 14:1‑4, 20‑23; 15:1‑2.
Rom 14:1, “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.”
Rom 14:22, “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.”
Roim 15:1, “Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.”
5.) “In love,” is the Instrumental Dative of Means of the Preposition EN, “in” and the Noun AGAPE, “love.” It is used to indicate the means or instrument by which we are able to have humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance. It is through impersonal and unconditional love that we are able to accomplish the above, Rom 13:8-10. It can also be a Dative of Sphere, as AGAPE love is the sphere in which we must reside to have and apply these characteristics. It is a characteristic or attribute itself that the Supergrace believer possesses, but it is also the means of obtaining and accomplishing the other four characteristics / attributes. As noted above, this verse gives us details about the Royal Family Honor Code (RFHC) that we must live by.
Ephesians 4:3, “Being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
The RFHC continues in vs. 3 with our 6th and 7th characteristics of the Supergrace believer.
6.) The 6th attribute is to “be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit.” As you may know the number six in Scripture is the number of man. Therefore, this is something the believer must perform.
This verse begins with the Present, Active, Participle in the Nominative, Masculine, Plural of SPOUDAZO, σπουδάζω for “being diligent.” SPOUDAZO means, “hasten, do one’s best, be eager, or diligent.” BDAG defines it as, “to be especially conscientious in discharging an obligation, be zealous / eager, take pains, make every effort, or be conscientious.” Therefore, we are to take every effort to accomplish this goal inside the family of God.
The Participle here is a rare usage of the Imperative Participle. It acts like the Imperative Mood for a command. Therefore, it continues the exhortation / mandate from Paul in vs. 1, “entreat,” PARAKALEO and the participle of vs. 2, “bearing with one another,” ANECHOMAI ALLELON.
Generally, this word means “to make haste.” This is often extended to the ideas of being eager about doing something or applying oneself to a task with diligence. It indicates that this is something to which daily attention must be given. In order to accomplish this goal:
- Daily attention must be given to your mental attitude toward Bible doctrine.
- Daily attention must be given to your relationship with God.
- Daily attention must be given to the development of your spiritual gift.
- Daily attention must be given to your service toward fellow believers.
As such, regarding the spiritual life, we note the following verses.
2 Tim 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.”
Heb 4:11, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, (the faith-rest life), lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.”
2 Peter 1:10, “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.”
2 Peter 3:14, “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.”
Diligence always marks the believer on the road to Supergrace, the believer who stays with doctrine, who never gives up on doctrine in spite of all kinds of discouragements and pressures. The believer with positive volition toward Bible doctrine fulfills this diligence, and by doing so, he guards the characteristics or the essence of the Royal Family Honor Code, as we see in the next few words.
Therefore, being diligent means to mind and take care of all necessary details of a matter, do the best job you can with the best effort you can muster up, and to do it without haste. This is how we should function in the spiritual life; first in regards to the intake of God’s Word and then to the application of it, as we serve God and one another.
In our passage, we are to be diligent in “preserving unity,” which is the Verb TEREO for “preserving” in the Present, Active, and Infinitive of Purpose that means, “to watch carefully, guard, keep, hold on to, preserve, etc.” Therefore, we are to guard and protect something very special.
It is linked with the Article HO, “the” and the Accusative Noun HENOTES, ἑνότης, that means, “unity, a state of oneness, of being in harmony, accord, or agreement.” It is used only here and in Eph 4:13.
Eph 4:13, “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
It tells us that the purpose of the Supergrace believer is to constantly guard what already belongs to him; being a member of the Royal Family of God / the body of Christ, and the essence of the Royal Family Honor Code. Therefore, there is an oneness or unity we have with fellow believers that we must be diligent to protect and preserve. That means:
- Encouraging one another in faith, especially when a fellow believer is going through some difficulty.
- Gently rebuking those who go astray, if necessary, in the hopes of recovery to fellowship.
- Supporting our local assembly, to ensure that effective teaching of the truth of God’s Word continues.
Unity does not just happen. As a present tense idea, we must constantly work at it to preserve and maintain it. Unity and Peace can be a fleeting thing; therefore, we must work doubly hard to build it and not let it slip away. Therefore, we must do our part to ensure and maintain peace, Rom 12:18, but remember, it takes two parties to achieve peace. We are only responsible to do our part.
Rom 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
Since unity is a major theme of Ephesians, e.g., Eph 2:14-16, 18; 4:4-6; 5:31, it is not surprising to find it here, as Paul urges the early Church and us, “to be eager to guard and protect the unity.”
Next we see the basis of our unity, HO PNEUMA for “of the Spirit,” in the Genitive case, which is speaking about God the Holy Spirit as the author of this peace. Because every believer has the universal indwelling of God the Holy Spirit, we are one family. By means of the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit, we have been entered into the Body of Jesus Christ, Rom 8:23; 1 Cor 12:13; Eph 4:4.
1 Cor 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”
Therefore, God the Holy Spirit is the source of our unity and royalty. He did seven things for us at the point of salvation.
- He made our faith effectual for salvation, the Ministry of Efficacious Grace.
- He created a human spirit for the imputation of eternal life, the Ministry of Regeneration.
- He entered us into union with Christ as a guarantee of our escrow blessings, the Baptism of the Spirit.
- He enters us into God’s Power System, GPS, giving us the power to execute the Plan of God, the Ministry of the Filling of the Holy Spirit.
- He indwelt us to provide a temple for the indwelling of the Shekinah glory, (our Lord), the Ministry of Indwelling.
- He provides a spiritual gift for function as a member of the body of Christ.
- He guarantees our eternal security and escrow blessings, the Sealing Ministry of the Spirit.
As the agent of regeneration, God the Holy Spirit entered us into the Family of God forever. In response to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, God the Father has given us a family honor code, a Royal Family Honor Code, by which we must walk in daily.
Therefore, “to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit,” means we must by means of the power of the Holy Spirit, learn about and apply consistently the honor code God has given to us, so that we maintain a mental attitude and physical interaction of oneness with our fellow believers.
7.) Finally, we preserve our unity in the Royal Family of God by residing in the 7th attribute, being “in the bond of peace,” EN HO SUNDESMOS HO EIRENE.
“In the bond,” is EN HO SUNDESMOS, σύνδεσμος, which is a Noun in the Dative of Sphere case. It means, “Bond, fetter fastening, that which binds together, or something that holds persons together in a common interest.” Therefore, there is something that binds believers together, which is found in our next words.
Next, we have the 7th Attribute, “Peace,” Seven is the number of Spiritual perfection in Scripture. Therefore, when we apply all seven of these attributes, including “peace,” we will be living the Supergrace life.
“Peace” here is HO EIRENE in the Possessive Genitive Singular. EIREN, εἰρήνη can be literally or figuratively used to mean, “a state of concord, peace, or harmony”, and by implication, “welfare or a state of well-being,” including “security and prosperity.” So EIRENE can mean everything from tranquility to harmony. It is equivalent to the Hebrew word SHALOM, which also means, “peace and welfare.”
EIRENE is used for the harmony between God and man, and here as the harmony between believers, that was first established by the grace of God at our salvation by entering every believer into the Family of God, Rom 5:1.
Rom 5:1, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
And because we are part of the Church Age, we are entered into the Royal Family of God because of our position and union in Christ Jesus. As such, peace is that which binds the Royal Family of God together.
Peace within the family of God is first and foremost something God created and gave to every believer. Yet, when believers go astray and enter into reversionism, they begin to gossip, malign, slander, and back stab one another or worse. As such, the bond of peace we were given is not experienced in their lives. Therefore, to reside experientially in the binding effect of peace, we need to express AGAPE Love towards our fellow believers at all times. By doing so, we not only stand positionally in the peace and unity God has made us to stand in, but also we experience it on a daily basis, creating a strong, healthy, and mature body for Christ.
In fact, the bond of peace within the Church is one of God’s Divine establishments for the protection and freedom of the Church. By bonding together in love, we care and provide for one another ensuring that the Word of God reigns within our lives collectively.
Peace is the clasp that ensures that this God-given unity will not fall apart. Just as in the marriage ceremony, the Pastor says from Mat 19:6b, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate,” the same edict is to be applied experientially within the Church, the body of Jesus Christ.
This peace is also a part of our Divine Good Production, the “Fruit of the Spirit,” Gal 5:22. This is the third Supergrace attribute that is also a means of Divine Good Production. In application, it is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit to every member of the Royal Family of God at the point of salvation and forward, that gives us peace and binds us together as one Royal Family of God. And it is through the application of the Royal Family Honor Code, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that we are able to guard, protect, and maintain peace and unity with the Royal Family of God.
Therefore, being in the sphere of love and the sphere of the Holy Spirit, we have the keys to effecting peace and unity where otherwise there would be dissension, and we have the tools necessary for prompting growth in the body of Jesus Christ, Rom 8:6; 14:19; 15:13; Eph 4:12, 16; Col 3:14-15.
Col 3:14, “And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”
Col 3:15, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
Rom 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Rom 8:6, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Rom 14:19, “So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”
When we have peace with other members of the body of Christ, it binds us and produces our unity. Therefore, peace and unity are not passive, but active. We must seek to develop more Christ-like knowledge to put on the Christ-like nature within ourselves, and our community, Eph 4:13. Because TEREO, “to keep, guard, or protect” is a present tense idea, we must constantly work at ensuring unity and peace.
Acts 7:26, “And on the following day he (Moses) appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?’”
Finally, this “unity in the bond of peace,” is the purpose why our Lord came and died on the Cross for our sins. He came to bring peace. He came to give us peace. Through Christ we have peace positionally. Now through His Word resident within our souls and the filling of the Holy Spirit, we can produce Divine Good so that we experience and maintain that peace with other members of the body of Christ, Eph 2:14-15.
Eph 2:14-15, “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.”
Therefore, we are make it our number one priority and give it our best effort to guard, protect and maintain the peace we have with our fellow believers that Christ purchased for us at the Cross, because the absence of these qualities may jeopardize Christian unity. Because all believers are bound by Christ and to Christ, Paul so intently presses us to exert all of our powers to maintain our oneness in Christ, which binds us all to each other. “What Paul envisions is not ‘a vague spiritual identity, but rather a profound oneness made possible by God’s Spirit’.” (Johnston, p. 18; as quoted by The Expositor’s Bible Commentary)
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson #’s:
16-078 through 16-080
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us. Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life.
To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!