The second half of Ephesians reads like a trail guide. It compares the Christian life to a path that believers must journey along. The appeal is to a certain way of walking. Paul repeatedly calls on his readers to walk correctly. Here in the first of five directives describing the way the walk of 2:10 should look, the call is to unity.
Unity is a necessity among God’s people. The plan of God has always been to unity all of humanity, all of creation, once more together as it was intended to be. This unity is now possible in Christ. The sinfulness that drove so many wedges between mankind—between nations, families, spouses, between created and Creator—exerts power no more. Everyone who trusts in Christ for salvation has been inducted into one new creation. Unity is the only thing that makes sense anymore.
However, the call is to unity, not uniformity. There is incredible diversity in creation, and that is how God intends things to be. Just as he did in the Corinthian letters, Paul here uses the diversity of gifts to illustrate the way that diversity combines to make the larger community of faith stronger. It is the variety of people brought together by God that enables the community to do all the God wants to accomplish.
When unity is preserved with the diversity everyone brings to the body of Christ, the community grows into that which God desires it to be. The differences are not weeded out, but tolerated. That is not to say that different beliefs are encouraged. Many false doctrines are built up on an idea of false unity. Outside of the obviously non-Biblical ideas that go against the Gospel presented in Scripture, some teachings seek to minimize doctrine as a mere divider that destroys unity and claim that no truth is sacred. On the other hand, most false teachings within the church try to force a unity of form. They claim that everyone should be the same: all should speak in tongues or possess the same gifts; everyone should prefer the same style of worship; everyone should abstain from drinking alcohol; people should dress a certain way.
The call here is not for God’s people to become clones. Unity is much harder to do than uniformity, but it is unity we should work to preserve because that is what we have been called to be.
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