I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, Ephesians 4:1 NASB
Calling – Have you been called? Most Christians will hesitate before answering because too often they think “calling” is about some assignment to the ministry. If God “calls” you then you will end up on the mission field or in the pulpit or in some “professional” Christian service. But this, of course, is not what Paul means at all. In fact, until the middle of the 3rd Century, there were no religious professionals. No pastors, no preachers, not bishops and archbishops, not “praise and worship” leaders, no official evangelists, no prophets or priests. “Wait a minute,” you complain. “All those titles (well, at least some of them) are in Scripture.” Yes, they are, but not a single one fits the kind of descriptions we find today. God called ordinary people for extraordinary tasks, but they didn’t carry titles the way we do. They just did jobs God wanted done – and then they faded away. Professional religious careers are an invention of our age.
We can see this quite clearly when we realize that Paul is writing to everyone in the Ephesians assembly. They are all called. What are they all called to do? To walk worthily. No one is exempt from this. They might play different roles in the community of the assembly, but every one of them is called to live according to a code of conduct that honors the King, helps them become human and removes the anxiety of not knowing what God demands. The call is for all.
Perhaps we should mention that this has nothing to do with grace poured out on those in need! It hardly seems necessary to say so, but just in case there is any remaining confusion here, let’s make it clear. How I walk has nothing to do with whether God sheds His grace on me! God’s grace and my redemption do not depend on the steps I take. God’s grace and my redemption simply make it possible for me to take the right steps. Obedience comes after grace, not before.
Having cleared up that possible confusion, we are left with a monumental question. If Paul intends that every single one of us should walk worthily, how are we doing? Since we know that the code of conduct isn’t ambiguous (like “just love on people” – frankly, I can’t imagine how that misuse of a preposition ever got started), we really do have a step-by-step guide to worthy manners. There isn’t much doubt about what it says (there is some, but it’s not critical). The real question is this: If Paul observed your life, would he think you are walking worthily? Would he see you honoring the King by keeping His commandments? Would he notice that you are becoming more and more human according to God’s image? Would he find you rejoicing in the freedom of knowing what God has told you to do? Have you turned in the right direction?
Topical Index: calling, kleseos, Ephesians 4:1
If you want to see what we discovered about this word before, click here.