I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Today is a little different for me. I had nothing in mind to write about, so I went to the last place I had read in the Bible. Having no set goal or aim, this post may feel very stream-of-consciousness, but I believe it still has a purpose.
This is the apostle Paul writing a letter to the church at Ephasis, under the inspiration of God Almighty. He says: I therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called…
What does it mean to be a prisoner of the Lord? Is it better to be a prisoner of the Lord than a servant of Him? To understand what Paul meant by referring to himself as a prisoner of the Lord, we must define prisoner. Once again we refer to the New Oxford American Dictonary for clarity.
Prisoner: A person captured and kept confined by an enemy or opponent.
I love the phrasology here. Note the words “captured” and “kept”. When God saves us, He captures us in His love, and then He doesn’t let go: He keeps us. When our hearts were contrary to God, He captured us and kept us so that no man can take us away from Him. The scripture says:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
When God takes us, He seals us and keeps us. No man is able to pluck us out of the hand of God. Salvation is once and for all, just as Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was once and for all; for all men, for all sins, for all eternity.
The other important thing that jumps out of this text is the concept of forbearing one another. In many ways, the word forbearing means putting up with or humoring one another. You probably don’t get along with every Christian you meet. There are things that you disagree on with other siblings in Christ, and then there are those people who seem bent on getting on your nerves. This is where the command for forbearance applies.
Christians will be known by their love one for another. Sometimes that means we have to overlook our differences and dislikes and forbear one another for the sake of the Christ. Not to say we shouldn’t strive to resolve any conflict we may have with a brother or a sister, but we should not let any differences between us wreck our testimony to the world.
The reason for it all, and the final point of this passage, is for us to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit, through the bond of peace. Paul instructs us to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit, not to keep the unity of the Spirit; because he knows that try as we might, we will still fail on occasion. But, as prisoners of Christ, captive by His love, kept in His care, we should cling to His calling.
If the world will know us by our love, we should do all that we can to show that love in how we treat the world, and also in the way that we treat each other. Bottom line: as prisoners of Christ we are obligated to do His will. Live, love, put up with one another, and know that God’s got you and nothing changes that.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist