by Mike Ratliff
1 Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς ἐγὼ ὁ δέσμιος ἐν κυρίῳ ἀξίως περιπατῆσαι τῆς κλήσεως ἧς ἐκλήθητε, 2 μετὰ πάσης ταπεινοφροσύνης καὶ πραΰτητος, μετὰ μακροθυμίας, ἀνεχόμενοι ἀλλήλων ἐν ἀγάπῃ, 3 σπουδάζοντες τηρεῖν τὴν ἑνότητα τοῦ πνεύματος ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης· Ephesians 4:1-3 (NA28)
1 Therefore, I encourage you, I the prisoner in the Lord, to walk worthy of the calling by which you were called, 2 with all humility of mind and meekness, with long-suffering, forebearing one another in love, 3 being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)
In yesterday’s post “Unity,” we looked the importance of genuine Christian Unity in the Church. Another New Testament word that emphasizes this importance is bond (συνδέσμῳ (sundesmos)), which we see in the passage above where we are to keep the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace.
In Classical Greek, from the time of Homer onward, the root δεσμός (desmos) meant “chain”. in the New Testament, it meant “band, bond, ligament.” With the prefix συν (sun), “with”, therefore, συνδέσμῳ means “that which binds together.” In a negative sense, we see it in Acts 8:23, where someone is enslaved by a habit or attitude. Peter says of Simon the sorcerer, who was not a truly converted man, “εἰς γὰρ χολὴν πικρίας καὶ σύνδεσμον ἀδικίας ὁρῶ σε ὄντα,” or, ““For I perceive that you are in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of unrighteousness.” In Colossians 2:19, it refers to a tendon or ligament of the bones that holds the body together. This, then, is the picture of true unity. It is not some superficial, sappy sentimentality, but rather a bond, the very ligaments of the body, that hold us together.
The challenge to us, then, is that a lack of peace in the body is sin, no matter what the reason (barring doctrinal purity). A vivid example appears in Philippians 4:2-3:
2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. 3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Philippians 4:2-3 (NASB)
The only problem in the Philippian church was a single unnamed conflict between two women, but that one conflict threatened to do serious damage. Paul obviously does not tell us what the problem was because it did not matter. Whether one woman was right and other wrong did not matter either. Both were wrong because they were causing disunity in the body.
When we are thinking more about what we think and what we feel, there will be division. We should always approach our walk objectively, never subjectively. All of our interaction should be in obedience to the Word as walk in submission to it, that is, as we walk in repentance. None of us deserve this salvation do we? We should seek genuine unity amongst the brethren above all so we must always be on guard against anything or anyone that attempts to drive us apart through subjective reasoning, which is always based on what WE think and what WE feel. Beware of this trap my brethren.
Soli Deo Gloria!