Four Key Traits

Sunday, Mar. 1

Paul starts his letters with a doctrinal section and then follows with an exhortation section. In Ephesians, the doctrinal section is chapters 1-3 and the exhortation section the rest of the epistle. He starts the exhortation section by naming four traits (4:2) that should characterize an adult Christian—humility, gentleness, patience and forbearance. All of these are critical in the process of growing into Christian adulthood, which is addressed earlier. It will produce unity, a characteristic that is essential in reaching the goals of the church, which Paul addresses a little later. Humility is to accept the position one is in rather than a higher one. The Greek word is a military term. Put bluntly, if you’re a private, don’t act like a General. Gentleness means to be considerate of others. Patience is to avoid avenging a wrong and is linked with forbearance, which is lovingly putting up with the faults of others. All of these represent the opposite of pride. When these four traits become dominant characteristics in a person, it is so different from the world that it draws attention and provides opportunities for a verbal presentation of the gospel, or as Paul put it, prepares God’s people for works of service (Eph. 4:12).

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