And so, all of this is [part of a process that leads us] so that henceforth we are no longer mere children, swept up and tossed around by every gust of teaching, by the trickiness of men [and women], from the cleverness they spin in order to cloak their errors in craftiness.
     But instead [maintaining the truth], remaining true in love as we grow up into Him [and His fulness] in all respects, that is into Him who is Head, Christ, from whom the entire body is framed and fitted with all connections taken care of and given their due resources so that each part can make its contribution to the body's growth, a housekeeping dispensed with love. - Ephesians 4: 14-16/transliteration by Bruce C Wearne

Worship of Jesus

Part of something bigger. PICTURE: Carolina Jacomin/Unsplash

Now Paul has already counselled the recipients of this letter to acknowledge who they are – they are the recipients of God’s grace in Christ and this means they are already the evidence of His workmanship. And, as we have surmised, this also means that this letter, this expression of Paul’s newly established responsibility under the Risen and Ascended Lord, also finds its meaning in this régime. Therefore, in meeting resistance and opposition it is not a matter of giving back in kind to what has been unkindly meted out to them. 

The message that has captivated them is also the message for those (still) opposed to the message and to their way of life. The way of wisdom in a situation of intense conflict is not necessarily to confront accusations head on. Luke has told us that Paul had been constrained by the advice of his friends, some of whom had public authority in the region (Acts 19:30-31). This here is counsel which Paul gives to his readers.

They are part of, and responsible for, something far wider than themselves; this is a régime that is on the way to a fulfillment that God has in store for those nurtured in His Son. So it is a matter of becoming mature, of reckoning with the inter-connected responsibilities that have been dispensed that requires ongoing loving attention. This is not simply a matter of a growth of an individual part of the body since the body grows together.

Those who are so persistent in their opposition - like Paul had also been before Jesus “captured” him – are still those who are living within the context, the sound, of this offer of free grace. And so our life is nothing other than allowing Christ free reign over us – this is the way of housekeeping that He commends for all members of His body, His family, His household, His Kingdom. These are therefore the royal duties of family members for as long as the Kingdom has not come in all its fulness.