Paul begins this chapter by listing the attitudes Christians should display to be worthy of their calling. Summed up in a nutshell, its becoming more like Jesus. We all begin our new lives with a clean slate, growing more like Christ as we develop. We become more patient, making allowances instead of criticizing because of a newfound love for others, not the emotion, but the ability to retain goodwill toward the unlovely and unlovable, those who don’t love us back, and even those we dislike. Those hardest to love need it the most.
When Paul says to be gentle, he’s not saying we have to be meek. He's telling us to overcome our anger, humbly denying the ego because life is no longer about us. United in a spirit of love, hope, and peace, we become one body, the body of Christ. In the Ephesian churches, it was about how Jewish and Gentile converts related to each other, accepting each other warmly, just as God accepted them.
Paul asserts we can become more like Christ by speaking the truth in love, which is the gospel message. He believed Christians should reflect gratitude for God’s grace in their lifestyles, emphasizing that they are of one body. He acknowledges we are all given unique gifts in order to build up the church, emphasizing leadership, a gift much needed for a church's growth. He suggests we cast off our old life like we cast off old clothes and dress ourselves — like God — in righteousness and holiness. After listing things to avoid, he closes with an admonition to be as forgiving to others as God, through Christ, is and will be toward us.
Food for Thought:
How should a Christian lead his life?
What attitudes are consistent with Christian living?
Of what does unity of Spirit consist?
According to Paul, how should we live?
What should we avoid?