By Oscar M. Baker
"That ye walk ... with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love" (verse 2) .
As we said the last time, the last three chapters of Ephesians have to do with a walk based on the doctrine of chapters 1-3. We have in this verse five words that are important. They are the beginning of the walk. Not much use to try to go on unless these five principles are adhered to. In Christendom today doctrine and practice do not have much part. You just join an organization and it makes little difference what you do or the company you keep. This slovenly attitude is infectious. It spreads and many become careless.
1. Lowliness. This has to do with the mind. Not puffed up. Not superior in actions. It is closely related to humility which was one of the attributes of our Lord. We might describe lowliness as modesty of mind and deportment (our actions, our walk). The lowly ones do not seek the best place at the table at a feast. They do not try to dominate other folks. They know themselves and their weaknesses and walk accordingly. Such will eventually be exalted, given a better place. They earn it.
2. Meekness. Not too far from lowliness. Dr. Bullinger says of it, "Gentle, enduring all things with an even temper, free from haughty self-sufficiency, tender of spirit. A tenderness in bearing with others." Moses is said to have been a meek man. The Lord was meek and lowly. We might add that meekness is an outgrowth of love for one's neighbor. It is a quality that is too scarce in Christian circles these days.
3. Long-Suffering. Probably just about what it sounds like. God suffered Israel's manners in the wilderness 40 long years. This means that God was a long time in becoming angry. He endured or waited patiently for them to repent and change their ways. So we should act among neighbors and also our own family. We must not be impatient with folks. We may not know their troubles or what might be on their minds. So it pays to wait, to be long-suffering.
4. Forbearing. In the happy home, there must be two bears; "bear," and "forbear." Again we go to the lexicon, and we find that it means "to hold one's self upright. Hence, to bear up, hold up, hold out, endure; then to bear with." I hope that folks will bear with me as I try to make these expositions. Forbear is self restraint, the opposite of heady, angry, and the like. We must not get too impatient with others. Let them express themselves.
5. In Love. Here is the key to the four items above. All these cannot be put on or made to work successfully except there is love. Read over and over the 13th chapter of I Corinthians. The love there brought out is not bounded by dispensational fences. We must love God and also our neighbor.
(Reprinted from Truth For Today, Vol. 30, No. 12)