The basis for Christian unity
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and meekness, with patience making allowance for each other in love; 3 giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, even as also you were called in the one hope of your calling. 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
The gifts of God
7 But to each one of us was the grace given, according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8 Wherefore He says: When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive and gave gifts to men.
9 (Now this, He ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things). 11 And he gave some to be apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. 12 For the perfecting of the saints, to the work of holy service, to the building up of the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to a full grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. 14 That we may no longer be like children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine devised by the trickery, craftiness and deceitful scheming of men. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head- Christ! 16 By him all the parts of the body fit and are knit together, with every joint supplying something according to its unique purpose, thus making the body grow as it builds up itself in love.
The new life
17 Therefore, this I say and testify in the Lord: You are to no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart. 19 Who being past feeling gave themselves up to sensuality, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ! 21 Assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus. 22 Those things belonged to your former manner of life, which was corrupt through deceitful desires. 23 But you, being renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 put on the new man, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore, putting away falsehood, each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour. For we are members one of another. 26 In your anger, do not sin! Do not let the sun set while you remain angry. 27 Give no opportunity to the devil!
28 Let him that stole, steal no more, but rather let him labour, working with his hands what is good, so he may have something to give to him that has need.
29 Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but as the need arises, speak that which is good for encouragement, that it expresses grace to those that hear you. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by which you were sealed until the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and railing be put away from you, along with all malice.
32 And be kind to each other, sensitive, forgiving each other, even as God in Christ also forgave you.
4:1 Paul was a prisoner of Rome; but he saw himself as a prisoner of Christ. Those things and life situations which appear to limit us and imprison us are all of Him; and we find spiritual freedom from their burden by perceiving ourselves as slaves of Christ.
4:5 One faith – One set of beliefs which comprise the true Gospel.
4:6 The one and only God is clearly distinguished from the one Lord Jesus (v. 5).
4:13 Until - It could be argued that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit were given until the early church had come to maturity and the New Testament had been written.
4:16 Of itself – The body of Christ edifies itself because of what each member of the body supplies to the whole. This is why pushing off on our own is damaging both to ourselves and to the rest of the body. We need fellowship with others; they do have something to give us, and we have something to give them. This is why division within the body of Christ is such a serious sin.
4:17 Notice the emphasis in this section upon the internal state of our thinking; this is the essence of Christianity. The world has a “vain” mind, spiritually empty. They live a corrupt “manner of life” because they are deceived by their own desires (v. 22); whereas we are to have a new mind (v. 22).
4:26 This is great practical advice; don’t let the day end with you angry.
4:32 We are to forgive as we have been forgiven. If we ask God to forgive us our secret sins, things we do wrong without realizing it nor specifically repent of- then we must likewise forgive those who sin against us without repenting. The more we reflect upon our own sins and their forgiveness, the more empowered we will be to forgive others.