No More Banging Gongs
I’ve been reading through Ephesians for my devotions for the last few weeks and a few things stood out to me. The church was in a hostile environment in Ephesus, were they were isolated and under pressure to give into the Godless culture of their day. Paul encourages the church, by reminding them that God is in control, and their salvation can’t be taken away. Eternal life is eternal.
Then Paul shows what God’s purpose and plans are for the church. God reconciled people to Himself as an act of grace, and to each other, uniting them in one body, the Church. The unity of the church, under the headship of Jesus foreshadows the uniting of “all things in heaven and on earth” under Christ. They are “Christ’s ambassadors” and given the “ministry of reconciliation”.
Does any of this sound familiar? We live in a world that is getting more and more hostile to the church and yet we, like the church in Ephesus, are called to be united together as ambassadors for Christ, with the ministry of reconciliation. First with God and then with each other. How can we do that if we are divided?
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.
What does it mean, “bearing with one another in love”? It means, making allowances for each other’s faults. We all have them, and we all need grace from each other. How can the world see Christ in us if we are full of hate and unforgiveness? We can’t stand for truth, if we can’t love our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.
We need to repent, if we are going to see God use us in the ministry of reconciliation. Not just feel bad for allowing hate to rule in our hearts but turning away from that hate through Christ’s love and being transformed by the Gospel of Christ. Is it more important to be right or loving? Please don’t read past that question. If we don’t speak the truth in love, we can’t be right. Instead the world will hear banging gongs and clanging cymbals instead of the gospel of Jesus.
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.