Unity in Christ does not mean perfect agreement or the absence of differences; it means community in the midst of differences.
- The marvel of God’s grace and eternal purpose toward us surpasses our limited human understanding—we cannot grasp the whole extent of the riches of God’s grace.
- In Chapter 4 Paul’s letter moves toward more practical theology, infused with praise and worship.
- The Christian faith entails a life of worship, the overflow of which is a life characterized by holiness. Paul wants us to match our faith to our life.
- We are to strive to live a life worthy of our calling in Christ. This calling does not mean matching the incredible deeds of the apostles; in 1 Cor. 13 Paul says that walking in love, forbearance, humility of mind and heart is more important than visible exploits.
- Humility is a distinctively Christian virtue; it begins with humbling ourselves before the might of God. It is contrasted with high-mindedness and pride. It means we are teachable.
- Gentleness is not weakness; it means to exercise restraint. It is controlled strength.
- To exercise forbearance with one another in love is to put up with the failings of others, knowing you have many of your own.
- Paul was a man of faith, courage, conviction, boldness and physical strength to endure all that he faced as an apostle. Yet he displayed these virtues which keep the Christian church in a state of unity.
- As believers we are to exert our strength to maintain the unity which binds us to Christ and to one another.
- This unity is worked out among us by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit.
- Christian unity in the bond of peace is familial, spiritual and eternal.
- Christian peace is like the ligaments in the body which help us to move together as a unit.
- If we belong to Christ we will put off the works of the flesh and put on virtues that lead to peace (Gal. 5:16-26; Prov. 6:16-19; 1 Cor. 3:1-11).
- Unity does not mean perfect agreement or the absence of differences; it means community in the midst of differences.
- Several aspects of Christian unity include: there is one visible church and one body of Christ; there is one hope in the reconciliation of all things to God in the kingdom reign of Christ; there is one Lord whom we all serve; there is one faith in the Lord Jesus which unites us.
- The Lord’s Table expresses the unity which is already there among us through our confession and baptism into the Lord Jesus.
- God is the Father not of everyone, but only of those who are in Christ, of those who know and love Him.
- To bear one another’s burdens means to serve and to help one another.
- Given the greatness of God’s grace and the riches of God’s inheritance toward us, how are we to live?
- What does it mean to walk worthy of our calling in Christ? What does it not necessarily mean?
- Define Christian humility. Give examples of false humility.
- What are some of the implications of the gospel as we live it out in the church community?
- How can we walk in Christian unity in the midst of real diversity?