Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Life in Community

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." (Ephesians 4:2)

Christianity is the replacement for the old creation, the creation fallen and torn apart in Adam. As the Reformers were fond of saying, Christianity is the restoration of true order in a world of chaos. That true order is grounded in the Kingship of Christ and in the community-life of His new people. Christianity is a total package, a new creation, which means a new society. That new society starts in the church. It is in the church that we must learn to live together first before we can spread Christian influences into all the rest of life.

So Paul begins in Ephesians 4:2 by telling us to be humble. How can we be other than humble when we realize that we have received everything as a gift? The more we live by faith in God’s gift, the less proud we will be toward other people.

Then Paul tells us to be gentle. If we are insecure and afraid, we will not be gentle. Gentleness requires confidence, and confidence requires that we feel secure. That feeling of security is an aspect of faith. The One in whom we trust is omnipotent and holy, so we are secure, and therefore we can be confident. Confidence is not the same as arrogance, nor does it require power or authority. The confident person does not need to demean others. The confident person can always be gentle.

Finally in verse 2, Paul tells us to be patient, or long-suffering, putting up with one another. Every one of us has inside himself or herself some armed mines waiting to go off. There are a few things that you are very touchy about, and when people touch those things, you go off like a rocket. You may not even realize what those things are until it is too late and you have already exploded. We need to work on those areas of our lives, seeing that since God is completely in control, we don’t need to feel threatened.

Long-suffering is not indifference. Being patient means putting up with people, not ignoring them. Also, God is patient, but eventually He will judge. Just so, Paul rebuked the Corinthians for being too patient with the man committing incest, and then had to rebuke them for not being patient enough when he repented.

The Corinthian example shows that we walk a razor’s edge sometimes when we must choose to be more long-suffering or to pass judgment. Elders of your church must make such decisions, and they need your support. If you have been second-guessing them, start praying for them instead.