There was a great rift between us and God, that has now been healed, for we have been seated with Christ in the heavenly places. Nonetheless, we still struggle against the darkness of sin within ourselves and in the structures of sin in our society. Acknowledging this essential truth is foundational to grasping all that God has done for us and in us.
By God’s work, we have redemption through Jesus’ faithful sacrifice, a solution to the dilemma of sin which no one foresaw. This is purely, 100%, God’s grace at work and, thus, none of us can boast about belonging to God. God has rescued us so that we can be Christ’s hands and feet in this time. Indeed, we are what God has made us.
All those who have faith in Christ have been reborn into one body, where there is no place and no meaning for the “otherisms” of this world. Jesus has brought us together in peace, breaking down walls, creating one new humanity. We who are Christ’s have been reborn into a new human race, reconciled in one body.
Paul directly challenges all believers: “I therefore . . . beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” And to what life are we called? To lives of humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (4:2-4). We have exchanged our old lives for new lives, renewed by the spirit of our minds (4:23).
What does it mean to live as the people into which God has made us? We are to live in the light, being filled with the Holy Spirit, giving thanks to God at all times. Paul’s teachings for these Christian households can be summed up in a single word -- mutuality, “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ” (5:21).
Living in the light isn’t always easy! The “spiritual forces of wickedness” are always seeking to pull us back into the darkness. So we must strap on the armor God has given us: truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the Holy Spirit. God does not abandon us to our own devices as we struggle to lead lives worthy of our calling.