Living a Worthy Life - A Call To Christian Unity
Last week Joe Bennett, our Pastor of Worship and Young Adults, wrote an excellent article addressing "Theological Humility" where he encouraged us "to always share our theology with humility, to value being righteous over being right, and to emphasize the person of Jesus over the particulars of theology." The importance of this truth and Joe's overall article cannot be overstated. When it comes down to it, demonstrating "theological humility" is not simply a matter of how we express our convictions. In fact, there's something much deeper at stake when we choose to engage in theological warfare: the unity of the church of Jesus Christ. Paul speaks of this in Ephesians chapter 4 and connects a Christian's pursuit of unity to their proper living out of the Gospel. He even goes as far as to say your willingness to maintain unity is the dividing line of living a life that is worthy of the Gospel.
The Worthy Life
What does it mean to live a life "worthy" of the Gospel? Pause for a moment and think of a list of ways you feel believers can "walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [they] have been called" (Eph 4:1). What items made it on your list? For me, I naturally think living a life worthy of the Gospel means walking in obedience to Christ, sharing my faith through evangelism, and actively putting to death my sin. While these things certainly fall into the category of living a life worthy of our Gospel calling, none of these are even mentioned when Paul addresses this question in the opening verses of Ephesians chapter 4. In fact, Paul focuses on something that, if we are honest with one another, would probably never make it into our lists of how to live a life that is worthy of the Gospel.
The Unified Life
Instead of listing engagement in the Great Commission, growing in knowledge and application of Scripture, or even properly worshiping God, Paul simply states that in order to live a life worthy of the Gospel you must pursue unity with other brothers and sisters in Christ! In other words, someone who is actively living a "worthy" life is "eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph 4:3). Wow! From Paul's perspective, living as someone who has been radically transformed by the power of the Gospel means prioritizing unity within the body of Christ. In fact, not only should a believer who is walking "worthy" pursue unity, they should do it with eagerness!
Unity is something that is to be fought for, protected, and eagerly pursued by those who are a part of the church of Jesus Christ. In a world filled with disunity, believers are meant to demonstrate a supernatural unity that is brought about "with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love" (Eph 4:2). In order to accomplish this, believers must grow in humility to not insist on our own way, gentleness to discuss opposing perspectives, patience to deal with those who may not understand or see things the way we do, and love to cover a "multitude of sins" (1 Pt 4:8).
The worthy life is a unified life. Rather than jumping at every opportunity to draw theological, practical, or preferential lines, those whom Paul says are walking "worthy" of the Gospel spend time building bridges of grace rather than fortresses of "correctness." In our theological discussions, my prayer is that the people of Grace will lead with humility in our hearts, unity in our minds, and the love of Christ in our spirits. After all, "faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (1 Cor 13:13).