It’s safe to say there’s no richer book in all the New Testament than Ephesians. It often has been noted that the first three chapters of Ephesians says a great deal about a Christian’s wealth in Christ (cf. 1:3; 2:4-7). At the beginning of chapter four, Paul really starts to stress the importance of the Christian’s walk (4:1,17; 5:2, 8,15). And the reason why is quite simple – belief strongly influences behavior. Due to the remarkable riches that have been given God’s people in Christ, it only makes sense to respond in a way that pleases the Lord.
Paul exhorts Christians to live in a manner becoming of those who have received the gospel (cf. Phil. 1:27). He writes in Ephesians 4:1, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” On the basis of all Paul has written in the first three chapters, he pleads with the brethren concerning their walk. Just as Romans 12:1-2 follows the great doxology or praise passage in Romans 11:33-36, so Ephesians 4:1-6 follows the great prayer and praise passage of Ephesians 3:14-21. Paul in the context of 4:1-6 is exhorting Christians to walk in a way that reflects unity in their relationship with God and with one another (cf. John 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:10).
“I urge” (ESV) or “I implore” (NASB) or “beseech” (KJV, ASV) is significant. Paul is exhorting these brethren, but the idea is surely that of an authoritative exhortation. Friendship and exhortation need NOT exclude apostolic authority. In fact, it should make it all the more effective (cf. Phil. 4:2-3). He speaks as “the prisoner of the Lord” (4:1). Paul was imprisoned for the cause of Christ, due to his union with Christ and obedience to the will of God (cf. 3:1; 6:20). The blessings of being in Christ were so great that if walking in them resulted in imprisonment for Paul, he gladly accepted it. He pleads with these brethren to have a similar outlook.
“Walk” has to do with lifestyle, habit or everyday life. The expression has to do with a way of life that honors our Lord and His will (cf Eph. 5:2; Rom. 6:4; Gal. 5:16). It is more than a mere “hobby.” It’s not something we “do on the side.” It’s a matter of consuming passion and commitment each and every day in our lives. The adverb “worthily” has to do with “bringing into equilibrium” or “to be equivalent” or “to correspond to” (cf. Col. 1:10). Our lives should correspond to the value and preciousness of our Lord and Savior!
Paul speaks of “the calling to which you have been called.” This “calling” is by God’s invitation (Acts 2:39; Heb. 3:1) and by means of preaching (2 Thess. 2:13-14). The expression often is linked with “election” (1 Cor. 1:26; 2 Pet. 1:10; 2 Tim. 1:9; Rom. 8:29-30). We have been called by the gospel to the way of Christ. How we walk matters to God. It should also matter to everyone who wears the name of Christ!