Gospel Culture, Pt. 5By Scott Hamilton
July 28, 2021
Ephesians 4: 1-3 gives us 5 distinctive that we are called to cultivate in our churches. We have had the opportunity up until now to consider the first 4 aspects of what we might call “gospel culture.” Gospel culture is about what people experience when they are among God’s people. To that extent, Ephesians 4 directs us to the significance of:
- Surrender that has settled upon the surpassing worth of Jesus.
- A humility that has a view of self that is instructed and informed by the sheer magnitude of the help I need from Jesus.
- Gentleness is the fruit of a deep experience of the grace of Jesus.
- Patience is self-aware enough to prize how faithful God has been to a rebel like me through Jesus.
The fifth aspect of gospel culture is not just something to be open to or offer tacit agreement about. It is something that we are directed to be eager to pursue. There is to be an urgency and proactivity about our approach to it. We are to chase down the kind of unity that is fuelled by peace between people whose relationships with God have been put right by Jesus. It is not something to be put off or to pass the buck of responsibility to someone else to sort out. Romans 12: 18 directs us very clearly on this: If possible so far as it depends on you live peaceably with all (Romans 12:18).
The kind of unity we are called to takes attention and work. It tells us in Ephesians 4: 3 it needs to be maintained. The covid lockdown has perhaps given us some suitable illustrations of what this is describing. It is to be maintained like a garden or back yard (which fared well with so little else to do during lockdown other than gardening). It needs to be maintained like a haircut (which for most folks fared less well in a lockdown of home hairdressing). Gardens and haircuts have this in common with our relationships. There are always weeds and tangly bits that need to be tended if our relationships are to flourish. The reality is that if you don’t maintain unity in relationships then you end up with the relational equivalent of a jungle mixed with Chewbacca. There is a reminder that division comes from a lack of diligence in maintaining unity that is rooted in the Gospel.