In Ephesians chapter 1, Paul describes the blessings that believers have received from God the Father, because of their relationship with Jesus. In chapter 2, Paul describes the salvation process God used to bring sinners out of the kingdom of satan, into His Kingdom, and that also centers around Jesus. Paul describes how Gentiles or non Jews have also being brought into the new covenant, through the blood of Jesus. In chapter 3, Paul describes how it was always God’s plan to have Gentiles as part of the new covenant.
So, in summary of chapters 1-3,
⁃ it is God who has blessed us in Jesus,
⁃ It is God who saved us through Jesus
⁃ It is God who unites us in Jesus
At the beginning of chapter 4 in verse 1, and in light of what God the Father has done for us in Jesus Christ, as mentioned in chapters 1 to 3, Paul told us that as Christians, we have been called as believers to be citizens of the kingdom of God, and therefore, Paul urged us to live our lives or conduct our lives as those who are citizens of the kingdom of God. Our lives should reflect our citizenship.
Now let’s look at our passage Ephesians 4:2
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
As indicated, in verse 1, Paul urged us to live lives corresponding to our citizenship of the kingdom of God. Now from verse 2, Paul tells us exactly how to live this life.
We have already discussed the first part of verse 2 and In summary of what we have discussed already, we can then say that the humility that Paul refers to here in verse 4:2, is the opposite of being arrogant, selfish and self-importance. Christians as citizens of the kingdom of God, must be completely unselfish and not boasting or exaggerating their own self-importance.
Paul continues in verse 2 to say that Christians are to live their lives as those belonging to the kingdom of God with gentleness. This word refers to the opposite of self-assertion, rudeness and harshness. So, if you are rude, you are not gentle, if you are harsh, you are not gentle. Self-assertion here refers to forceful insistence of one’s rights and opinions over others, and this can also be seen as not being gentle. If you are hard on people, you can also be seen as ungentle. If others don’t feel comfortable about what you are saying or it makes them feel bad, you can also be seen as ungentle. I have been accused many times that I am not gentle because I am straightforward when I speak. I am apparently too blunt and therefore harsh.
As you can see, there’s really not one standard definition of gentleness out there. It is all subjective. However, a more objective definition in my view is that gentleness is a mean or a middle ground between excessive anger against everyone, and on all occasions, and never being angry with anything. It is the middle ground between getting angry without reason, and not getting angry at all. Therefore, gentleness means getting angry, at the right time, with the right amount of anger, and for the right reason.
The basis of gentleness is love. The reason why you are gentle with others is because of your love for them. As Christians, we are commanded to love one another and therefore, it follows that we must be gentle with one another. As Christians we are commanded to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, therefore, we are to be gentle to all people even non Christians. As Christians, we are commanded to love even our enemies, therefore, we are to be gentle even to our enemies.
We are also as Christians commanded to correct our opponents with gentleness so that God may grant them repentance. Our defense of the faith must be done in gentleness.
This is what Paul refers to when he says that as citizens of the kingdom of God, we must live our lives with gentleness. This means that on the basis of our love for others, we must control our emotions when interacting with them. Getting angry, at the right time, with the right amount of anger, and for the right reason. All in all, when Paul says “with all humility and gentleness”, He means that, as citizens of the kingdom of God, we are to live our lives without pride or arrogance, without selfishness, and on the basis of love, having our emotions under control when interacting with others.
As a Christian, are you humble and gentle? If not, today and now is the right time to repent. As an unbeliever, well, you have much bigger issues than this, you need to confess your sins while you can, ask God for mercy, turn away from your sins, and put your trust only in Jesus. Amen?