Paul then turns to how God expects his chosen people (his adopted children) to respond to his many blessings (319).
As to how we can cooperate with the Holy Spirit, Paul offers a couple of ideas.
- We have to start thinking of ourselves as one body, instead of as a bunch of unrelated people. God always gives us opportunity to get over ourselves.
- We have to let the Holy Spirit have his way, rather than trying to organize God’s church our way. The Holy Spirit can anoint & use whomever he chooses. And the Spirit does not always choose to use the people we might think best-suited for leadership or service in the church.
Leading Spirit-led lives presumes submitting to the rule of our spirit rather than the rule of our flesh. If each member is being ruled by his spirit instead of his flesh, then the body as a whole is becoming more mature & Christ-like.
In this context, Paul emphasizes that God provides spiritual gifts to every believer, including normal everyday men & women & kids. God has chosen to do his work in the world through everyday people, until Christ comes again.
God uses people to build up His church. God uses His church to serve people in need — regardless of their relationship with God — which shows that we love them, which shows that we love God.
Paul then considers what Spirit-led living looks like in a few everyday human relationships – specifically, marriage, parenting & work. In each case, the main idea is that our relationships in the world are opportunities for us to deepen & demonstrate our devotion to Jesus. We show our love for God by being godly marriage partners, godly parents & godly employees.
Paul concludes the letter with a warning: God’s enemy, Satan, works overtime to undermine God’s work in the world. But God has given us spiritual armor to defend against Satan’s attacks.
Metaphorically, the armor includes a belt, a breastplate, shoes, a shield, a helmet & a sword. Spiritually, what these represent are truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation & the inspired scriptures – all to be employed prayerfully.
So, essentially, Paul is encouraging the Ephesian believers to do the following things — all as guided by God in prayer:
- Stick to the truth about God.
- Refer everything to Jesus, who alone is righteous.
- Live peaceably with other people.
- Believe that all things are possible with God.
- Trust the power of the Spirit to overcome the power of sin.
- Share the inspired scriptures with other people.
(319) Ephesians 4-6