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One Thing You Must Remember if You Want To Walk Worthy of the Calling


Ephesians 4:1 bothers me: “Therefore, as a prisoner of the Lord, I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received…”

You can almost hear the chains rattle with the words. Paul, having been arrested because of his commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ, wrote these words from prison. Ever since his dramatic conversion, Paul had been relentlessly faithful. He was absolutely convinced that there was no more important message in the universe than the great, good news that our sins can be forgiven because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. He knew it. He experienced it. And he would not shut up about it. And now he was in jail, possibly the last “home” he would ever see.

It’s from there he wrote these words, first urging the Ephesians and now us, that we should “walk in a manner worthy of the calling…”

And that’s troublesome to me. It should be troublesome to you as well, because how is that possible? How is it possible to walk in a worthy manner in light of what Jesus has done on our behalf?

If we look inside ourselves, our anxiety deepens, because we know us. We know how deep our sin runs, and we know how fail our resolve is. On a daily basis we find ourselves doing exactly what Paul described in another one of his letters:

“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom. 7:18-19).

In other words, there’s simply no way. There’s no way I can live up to the calling I’ve received. I know that today I’m going to be guilty of both sins of commission and sins of omission. And in my guilt, I will have once again proved myself unworthy. How do we deal with this command?

Our hope comes if we look backward. If you look at how Paul has described our calling up to this point in the book of Ephesians, you find this passage in chapter 1:

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (v. 4-5).

God has indeed called us to be holy and blameless in his sight, but that holiness is predicated on what he has made us to be. Despite our sin, despite our “unworthiness,” God has adopted us into his family. God has made us something new—something his—and the calling is for us to grow into what we have already become. He has given us a crown as his sons and daughters and we are left to grow into it. In light of what he has made us, one of the most important ways to look at our calling is this:

We should remember who we are.