Monday, December 1. Ephesians 2 – 4

Wherever Christianity goes, God intends that unity follow.

In chapter 3 Paul mentions a “mystery,” something not revealed or made plain before. But the mystery has been revealed to Paul and it is his job to reveal it to the world. The mystery is this: God has opened his kingdom to all mankind – no matter what race or ethnicity. Paul’s job was to make this truth known.

But preaching a message is one thing. Living it is another, and the problem is that while the kingdom doors are open to all who trust in Jesus, those who trust in Jesus are often more discriminating in their associations than God and the Church gets divided.

It is the duty of all Christians to live in such a united way that the dark powers of the universe see it and are awed. In our unity, we may approach God with freedom and confidence, and only as a unified people may we ever be seen as God’s people. This is what it means in chapter 3 to be “filled with the fullness of God.”

Sometimes Christians get caught up in a grander, but less important, picture. We talk about “Christian unity,” the notion that all denominations should get along and work harmoniously. Or, we worry over “diversity” and how much of it is present in our local congregations. What Paul was dealing with was neither of these things – both of which make us look good to fret over but are efforts doomed to failure because we lack one essential element: the blessing of unity within our own congregation. I know of church leaders who whine incessantly over congregations failing to have fellowship with one another. But their own churches are consumed with division. The focus should be on the unity of the local church. When we get that one down, perhaps we can move to the next level. Who wants to be a part of a divided church that bears no resemblance to the body of Christ?