The Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace
Lisa Cooke

I have loved Ephesians 3:14-20 for a long time. “Being strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit in my inner being so that I can have strength to comprehend the fullness of God” has been a fervent prayer of mine for myself and others. All that these verses mention…

  • Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith
  • being rooted and grounded in love
  • and knowing the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge

…all depend on the comprehension of all that God has given us in Christ, which requires the power of the Holy Spirit at work within our inner being.

Truly we have only scratched the surface of all that God has for us, but here we see the Father’s heart for us to have more than all we ask or think. He provides the way to the fullness of Himself through the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

How important it is for us to fully appreciate and appropriate the magnanimous gift that Jesus gave us in the Holy Spirit. I find within myself a hunger to know Him more, to understand how He works, and to allow Him to work with increasing freedom in me. It is an incalculable loss to neglect or ignore Him who Christ sent to us from Heaven. As the Spirit of Christ Himself, it behooves those of us who love Christ to love the One He sent to us.

As I was once again reading/meditating on these scriptures, the Holy Spirit quickened a theme I had not paid attention to before. Paul says in verses 14-15, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” From the commentaries on these verses, there is a sense of familial unity in being of the same Father. Verse 18 says “…may have strength to comprehend with all the saints…” Verse 21 says “…to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations…”

I began to read chapter 4 and saw this theme of unity continued as Paul urges his readers to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. He goes on to say in verse 4-6 “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

The emphasis here is definitely on the heavenly desire for one-ness. Paul wants us to be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit through humility, gentleness, patience and the ever-challenging “bearing one another in love.”

Within this prayer for being filled with the fullness of God, I saw the appeal for and the significance of the peace of a unified family under the Name of the Father. This is a consistent theme running through much of the New Testament, that along with our growing relationship with God, we would at the same time have a healthy relationship with others, particularly those of the household of God.

We see the will of God displayed throughout these verses of Ephesians 3 and 4. He wants us to have all He has offered to us, sharing in the breadth and length and height and depth of it with the body of Christ. All of God’s goodness toward us is also for the benefit of each other, which in turn benefits us. Psalm 133:1 says it is good and pleasant when brothers dwell in unity. The joy and peace we experience in the unity of the Spirit is worth the effort of pursuing “being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:2) with the brothers and sisters of our Father’s family.