Unity Certain Through Christ
Highlights From Ephesians
EARLY in 52 C.E., the apostle Paul preached in Ephesus. This rich commercial city of Asia Minor was also a center of false religion. But Christianity flourished there after Paul returned to Ephesus, likely by the winter of 52/53 C.E. He gave daily talks in a school auditorium and witnessed from house to house during his stay of some three years.—Acts 19:8-10; 20:20, 21, 31.
While imprisoned in Rome about 60-61 C.E., Paul wrote to the Ephesian Christians. Unity with and through Jesus Christ is his letter’s theme. In fact, it contains 13 references to ‘union with Christ,’ more than any other letter Paul wrote. Like the Ephesians, we can benefit from Paul’s words about Christ’s role, avoiding immorality and resisting wicked spirit forces.
Unity Is God’s Purpose
First, Paul explained how God would bring about unity through Christ. (1:1-23) Jehovah purposed to gather all things in heaven and on earth together again by means of “an administration” (a way of administering affairs). Through Christ, God would unite with himself those chosen for heavenly life and others who would live on earth. Today, God has united anointed ones and “a great crowd,” and the ‘gathering of all things on earth’ will continue until those in the memorial tombs hear Jesus’ voice and come out. (Revelation 7:9; John 5:28, 29) We should be grateful for this, even as Paul prayed that the Ephesians would appreciate God’s provision for them.
Attention was next directed to Gentile Christians, once dead in sin. (2:1–3:21) By means of Christ, the Law was abolished and the basis laid for Jews and Gentiles to be united and become a temple for God to inhabit by spirit. Paul’s stewardship was to make known the sacred secret that Gentiles may come into union with Christ, through whom they can approach God with freeness of speech. Paul again prayed for the Ephesians, this time asking that Jehovah cause them to become firmly established by faith and love.
Factors Promoting Unity
Paul showed that God has supplied unifying factors. (4:1-16) Among these is the one spiritual body that is the congregation. This body functions in unity under the headship of Christ. And he provides gifts in men to help all to oneness in the faith.
Jehovah also makes it possible to display Christian qualities that promote unity. (4:17–6:9) Having put on “the new personality,” Christians avoid such ungodliness as immoral speech. They walk wisely, show respect for Christ, and manifest proper subjection.
Additionally, God enables Christians to resist the wicked spirit forces seeking to disrupt our unity. (6:10-24) Spiritual armor from God provides such protection. So let us use it and pray earnestly, including fellow believers in our supplications.
What fine counsel Paul gave the Ephesians! May we heed it by avoiding immorality and resisting wicked spirit forces. And let us deeply appreciate the unity we enjoy through Jesus Christ.
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Burning Missiles: Spiritual armor includes “the large shield of faith” with which to quench, or render harmless, the “burning missiles” of Satan. (Ephesians 6:16) Some missiles used by the Romans were hollow reeds with an iron receptacle under the point that was filled with burning naphtha. They were shot from slack bows to avoid putting out the fire, and dowsing them with water only increased the intensity of the flame. But large shields protected soldiers from such arrows, even as faith in Jehovah enables his servants “to quench all the wicked one’s burning missiles.” Yes, faith helps us to resist such things as attacks by wicked spirits as well as temptations to do wrong, to pursue a materialistic way of life, and to give in to fear and doubt.