Brief Notes

The Boards,
the Bars, &
the Oneness (1)

13 September 2023

Any Christian virtues we
express must in reality be
a manifestation of
the humanity of Christ

The Apostle Paul begins Ephesians 4 by exhorting us to keep the oneness of the Spirit with our fellow believers in Christ:

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
— Ephesians 4:1-3

As I commented in the previous Note, if we as believers really practiced this today, there would be so few divisions among us! (See “Walking in a Manner Worthy of Our Calling.”)

Yet, how are we to do this?

As most of us are probably aware, if we try to practice this in ourselves we will very soon be frustrated as we encounter problems and difficulties in the church life. Yet, such negative things are the very means the Lord uses to help us find the answer: to genuinely keep the oneness, we need to experience the humanity of Christ.

We may see this by comparing Paul’s statement above with the Lord’s own word regarding Himself, when He called the people to come to Him for rest:

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
— Matthew 11:29

Here the Lord refers to Himself as being “gentle and lowly in heart.” So, the virtues of “all lowliness and gentleness” that Paul calls us to express in order to keep the oneness with our fellow believers are in reality the virtues of the Lord Himself. Thus, it is only when we allow the Lord to live within us that we can manifest these virtues in a genuine way.

To say it another way, our expression of “lowliness and gentleness,” and for that matter, of any other virtues of the Christian life, must not be something merely of our own goodness; rather, it must be the expression of Christ Himself living within us, as we partake of His divine life and nature (cf. John 1:12-13, Gal. 2:20, 2 Pet. 1:4).

We see this not only in the plain words of the New Testament, but also in the picture of the tabernacle in the Old Testament, as we shall consider in the next Note in this series.

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— 13 September 2023 —