‘AMEN’ AND ‘THEREFORE’
Lord, thank You for making me a part of Your one and only body.
Read EPHESIANS 4:1–6
Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ
4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Forever with the Lord! / Amen, so let it be! / Life from his death is in that word. / ’Tis immortality’ (James Montgomery, 1771–1854).
The end of what we call chapter 3 concludes Paul’s passionate, hymn-like affirmation of the power and presence of the eternal God with a resounding amen. In the original unbroken and unpunctuated Greek, the second word after amen is ‘therefore’. Our modern chapter division has separated the words by white space, an intrusive heading and a large number 4. When read in my church every third August, ‘amen’ and ‘therefore’ are separated by a whole week! The NIV loses the point altogether, using ‘then’, a weaker word, and placing it further along in the sentence. One of Paul’s techniques was to follow a doxology with therefore (eg., Rom 11:36; 12:1). There are consequences! We have just been assured of the possibility of being totally filled with all the love of Christ through the presence of our indescribably glorious and eternal God (Eph 3:18,19). Such a wonderful reality cannot be left hanging in the air. Something must follow. If the eternal God dwells within us, there are consequences for how we should then live.
We who belong to God, we who are filled with the love of Christ, we who are children of the one Father, must live so that this is evident in our lives. We have been fathered by the everlasting God (Eph 3:14,15), who thought His people into being before the world began (Eph 1:3–10). We are to be humble, gentle, and forgiving (2). We must show the world that we are united in one body, bonded together as people of peace (3). We are one in every possible way. Paul heaps word upon word – one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God who is the one Father of us all. Our God fills the universe, pervading all that is, glorious and immense, yet our God still wants to dwell within each of us.
Come, eternal God. Fill us with Yourself, that we may truly be one with all Your people everywhere, within whom You also dwell.
Lord, teach each of us how to do our part to maintain the unity of the Spirit as functioning members of Your body.