“Therefore, … Walk Worthy”

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.”
—Ephesians 4:1

THIS TEXT IS FROM THE pen of the Apostle Paul and we find, upon reflection, that it promises rich rewards. The word that is specially filled with promise is ‘therefore’ which correctly used is the word of a logical thinker. It suggests that previous to its use facts were stated that led up to a reasonable conclusion. For instance, if one were to say, “In this rich soil I have planted good seed to be well watered,” this fact would logically lead to a “therefore,” or “because of this fact, I expect a good yield.”


Paul states the reason why we should walk worthy of our calling, saying “Are they ministers of Christ? … I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, … In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”—II Cor. 11:23-27

The most interesting thing, however, is not Paul’s account of his numerous trials, but his appraisal of them when viewed beside our prospect. He wrote, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18) What was the transcendent prospect of glory which Paul saw that could prompt him to say of his, and our, trials, “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. … We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: … the things which are not seen are eternal?”—II Cor. 4:17,18

If we could talk to Paul we would be prompted to inquire, “What did you see in detail that caused such deep devotions in your life?” Upon reflection would it be necessary to ask him? Does not the word ‘therefore’ in our text suggest that he has told us the reasons why he ‘walked worthy,’ and why we should so walk? Let us consider the numerous reasons stated by Paul in the first three chapters of Ephesians which lead up to his logical use of the word therefore.


The epistle begins with Paul’s customary greeting, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.” After his salutation, his words and thoughts immediately turn heavenward to the Father, and we are impressed with the warmth that is found therein. Almost in the tender words of a prayer he writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (vs. 3) To Paul it is so obvious that our Heavenly Father is a glorious being, worthy of the love of all his intelligent Creation!

After reviewing that the church, in the eternal plan of God, was designed for God’s glory, Paul seems to be lifted up in gratitude and exultantly says, “To the praise of his glorious beneficence with which he graciously favored us in the beloved one.” (vs. 6, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott) This joyful exclamation helps us to appreciate the emotional stirrings of the heart of Paul, and further causes us to look again towards the Father that we also may see him in the majesty and glory that are his.

What are the thoughts that course through our minds when contemplating the glory of the Heavenly Father? As one devoted Christian stated the matter, “God’s mighty intellect grasps with ease every interest of his far-flung domain, from immensity to minutia.” How far-flung is his domain?

Today with the aid of the Hubble Telescope, astronomers find the universe to be much greater than they ever imagined. The distances between heavenly bodies measured in light years is beyond human comprehension.

Seeing through contemplation the glory of our God causes a further recognition of our own littleness. Our earth, among the stars of heaven, is like a grain of sand beside the wide expanse of ocean. And we, as individuals, helpless and sin-sick, fade into nothingness when viewed beside the earth. This appreciation of our own lack and littleness beside the majesty of the Eternal One causes Paul’s next statement to overwhelm us. “Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.”—Eph. 1:8,9


‘Having made known unto us the mystery of his will!’ None have merited this—it is all of grace! There has come to us knowledge of things which even “the angels desire to look into.” (I Pet. 1:12) Among the children of men who have received knowledge of the mystery of his will Paul says, “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world … to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, … That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (I Cor. 1:27-29) The fact that we have been invited into the inner council of God suffices Paul to conclude, ‘Therefore, walk worthy.’ However, Paul has much more to say!

There follows a brief statement of a vital part of the mystery of God’s will revealed unto us—“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” (Eph. 1:10) Here is stated God’s loving plan to use our Lord in the great work of establishing the kingdom—of reuniting with the Father all the willing and obedient. This heartwarming statement so brief and clear is yet appreciated only by the few.


In spite of the numerous statements found in God’s Word relative to the coming kingdom, few there are in the Christian world who receive it. To those of us who do, how blessed is the message! So often our hearts are touched by the scenes of woe before us—the lonely, the impoverished, the weak and sick, the degraded, and apathetic. We helplessly behold them, wishing we were empowered now to touch and heal. Our hearts turn in gratitude to God because we know that some day, not too far distant, it shall change. Let us thank him for the promise of his Word concerning the new day when he “shall wipe away all tears from their eyes,” and when “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”—Rev. 21:4

This precious knowledge of the coming kingdom of blessing enriches our lives and does much to take “the bitter from life’s woes.” It is so much a part of our thoughts, reactions, and planning that it would be impossible to imagine the bleakness of heart that we would experience without this knowledge. If we did not know there was a God, and we knew nothing of our Lord or his plan, would we not be most miserable? But we do know, because ‘he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will.’

Would not this knowledge of the coming blessings to all in itself suffice to warrant Paul’s exclamation, ‘Therefore [or because of this], … walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.’ Indeed, and every sign of sorrow, of imperfection, should cause us prayerfully to turn to our glorious Father and thank him for the promises of his Word.


Paul, however, continues beyond this part of God’s plan of rehabilitation and lifts us to transcendent heights. He writes, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” (Eph. 1:11) John wrote, “We shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (I John 3:2) Jesus promised, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”—Rev. 3:21

We are little beings, sin-sick and helpless, yet we are invited to become a part of God’s own intimate family! How overwhelming is the thought that we, if faithful, shall one day enter into the presence of our God and there behold him in all his glory and majesty, and amidst the pageantry of heaven see our Lord Jesus also and realize that we are home! Our hearts glow as we read the tenderness with which the Eternal One looks down upon us, and through the Prophet Malachi, says, “They that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.”—Mal. 3:16,17

Viewing our own undone condition, we would be most disheartened were it not that God has promised that we shall be “his workmanship.” (Eph. 2:10) All about us are the evidences of his handiwork—his creative power—as the psalmist reminds us saying, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained.” (Ps. 8:3) From the great suns we turn to the dainty and exquisite beauty of the rose, fragrant and colorful. Wherever we look, from immensity to minutia, there is the evidence of his skill, wisdom, and power. Paul says he is “confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will finish it.” (Phil. 1:6, Marginal Translation) The wisdom, skill, and power used in framing the universe are all marshaled to the glorious end of preparing God’s New Creation for their home in heaven.

Paul reminds us that God revealed the ‘mystery of his will’ regarding the establishing of his kingdom on earth. In addition to this, God has invited us to become a part of his royal household. Would not this suffice to warrant Paul’s ‘therefore, walk worthy’? He continues, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”—Eph. 1:13,14


In this statement Paul shows how we can be sure we are numbered among this invited class and have a prepayment of our inheritance.

Note the point that you were ‘sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.’ This word sealed means to impress or identify, and was probably borrowed from the practice of that ancient day for a king to identify a message, or a messenger, with a seal. A messenger would be identified by his credentials bearing the seal of his king, and this message would be recognized as authentic for the same reason. Paul suggests we have received God’s stamp, or seal, which should reassure us of our position.

Our seal, however, is not indicated by some outward mark, but by our possessing the ‘Spirit of promise.’ Paul says this Spirit of promise in itself is the seal, or that which identifies us as messengers of the king. The entire matter is made clear, by statements of Paul found in I Corinthians, chapter two.

The brethren of Corinth were reminded that it was not Paul’s natural talents that persuaded them in the way. Instead it was a demonstration of God’s power and Spirit, not man’s wisdom. Paul says, “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.”—I Cor. 2:6,7

This mystery is unseen by any eyes except those of faith. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (vss. 9-10) For impressive emphasis Paul uses an illustration, “What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?” In other words, a man can appreciate the thoughts of another man because of the similarity of mind. A man could not discuss astronomy with a dog, or mathematics with a horse, because these lower animals do not possess man’s mind. So, Paul reasons “the things of God knoweth no man, but [by] the Spirit of God.” (vs. 11) God has said, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”—Isa. 55:9

Man could never know the thoughts of God unless they were specially revealed unto him by the power of God. This is the exact point Paul is here making! “We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (I Cor. 2:12) Hence, one of the main functions of the Holy Spirit now is to reveal Truth, or the thoughts of God. It becomes manifest therefore, if we now know the mystery of his will, it is because God has directed it to us and not because of talents we possess, or because of chance acquaintance with others possessing such knowledge.

Therefore the possession of this Holy Spirit of promise identifies us as children of the King. Thus Paul uses the illustration of a seal—we are sealed, or identified, as children, by possessing the Holy Spirit. The apostle’s second point is that, being sealed with the Spirit of promise, it also becomes “the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.” (Eph. 1:14) The old English word, ‘earnest,’ would better be understood in the language of our day by the word ‘prepayment.’ Thus Paul says the possession of the Spirit of enlightenment now serves as a prepayment on the future inheritance promised the heirs of salvation.

Here again is an illustration from that faraway period, but in this instance it is a practice still in vogue in our day. Ofttimes when two parties enter into a contract, it is a practice for the one arranging for services to be done to tender unto the other a token payment, or prepayment. Thus it becomes forthcoming at the completion of the agreed upon services.

The apostle indicates that we have entered into a covenant with God. The Heavenly Father has promised an ‘inheritance,’ if faithful; but even now, we have received a prepayment which assures us of the promised joys if faithful. This Holy Spirit of enlightenment thus becomes our prepayment, to have and to enjoy, until the time we enter into our full reward. How blessed is our present inheritance and how gloriously it speaks of better things! It causes us to sing:

“O! the prospect! it is so transporting,
Reapers, hasten the gath’ring, we pray;
We rejoice in the glory that’s promised,
And the dawn of millennial day.”
                 —Hymns of Dawn, No. 32

How many helpful thoughts have been called to our attention by Paul’s ‘therefore.’ It serves to remind us of God’s majesty, and rich promise of a coming kingdom. It points to the transcendent glory that shall come to the church. Then there is reassurance to us who are of faltering faith that we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit, and this possession of the Holy Spirit of enlightenment becomes our prepayment of the inheritance.


When Paul heard of others receiving the High Calling, to him it was not merely a statistic, nor was it to be viewed with doubt. With rejoicing and tender love he reached out toward them, saying, “I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” (vss. 15,16) How touched would we have been if we were back with Paul and we overheard him bearing our name in prayer to the throne of grace!

What a blessed privilege still remains in praying for one another! When we view our brethren in deep distress and pray for them it tends to awaken a further interest in our hearts for them. Personal prayer for those who are being used of the Lord in spreading his Word causes us to realize just a little more our own responsibilities. A special prayer for those with whom misunderstandings arise, causes sweetness to fill our hearts. We sing:

“Prayer is appointed to convey
The blessings God designs to give,
In ev’ry case should Christians pray,
If near the fount of grace they’d live.”
                         —Hymns of Dawn

Not only did the apostle tell them of his prayers on their behalf, but one of such has been written out for them and for us. A prayer is recorded which shows much of Paul’s depth of appreciation and devotion to God. It reveals his intense interest and burning desire to serve his brethren.


Paul prays, “[I make] mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”—vss. 16-23

Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, verse 17, reads, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of him!”

Paul’s appreciation of our God was wonderful. And when he started this prayer on behalf of others he was mindful of the glorious Father who heard. God is the “high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy.” He has said, “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit.” (Isa. 57:15) Paul knew of God’s mercy and grace, and loving plans for all his creatures, so that his heart doubtless spoke as did the psalmist, “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: … To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.”—Ps. 63:1-3

One portion of our hope which our minds can now approximate is the work of blessing all the families of the earth. We have been walking in the valley of the shadow of death, and how touched have been our hearts! Statistics have been quoted to show that in our day seventy-five percent of the world’s population have no beds in which to sleep, no shoes to wear, and do not get the equivalent of one nutritious meal a day. And the past has been even worse. In addition to privation there have been sickness, ignorance, and war to add to this misery. The world has an aching heart!

Thank God for his coming kingdom of blessing. By his matchless grace we shall have the privilege of reaching down with hands of mercy and love to the sin-sick world. By his grace we shall share in tearing back the veil of ignorance and hate that has so long beclouded man. By his grace we shall, with our Lord, be a part of that “Sun” which shall reach to the farthermost part of the earth to heal and bless.— Mal. 4:2

Paul wants us to know ‘what [is] the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.’ God’s viewpoint of the church is that we are considered by him as ‘his inheritance.’ The church is called his jewels, his diadem, his special treasure. We read that our God “hath chosen Zion [the church]; he hath desired it for his habitation.” (Ps. 132:13) Perhaps, Paul, in praying that we should know of the ‘riches’ of God’s inheritance among the saints, was attempting to impress upon us how much the Heavenly Father has looked forward to the completion of his family, his jewels. The realization of this gives new understanding to Peter’s statement that we shall receive an abundant entrance “into the everlasting kingdom.”—II Pet. 1:11

Paul prays that we may know ‘what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe.’ Following this is cited an illustration of the power exerted on our behalf, ‘According to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.’

The raising of Jesus from the grave to a great Divine being, in the “express image of his [the Father’s] person” (Heb. 1:3), was the greatest demonstration of power that had ever been given. This took greater skill and power than the framing of the heavens with their array of island universes. The Creation of the heavens and the earth were the outgrowth of the Creation of the LOGOS. Glorious though our Lord was as the LOGOS—God’s first creative act—yet there is no comparison in glory and power with the risen, Divine Lord. Jesus now is immortal and, as a Divine being, possesses the glory, intuitive knowledge, beauty of character, and inherent power and life, which are an intrinsic part of a being on this highest plane. Thus we realize that to create such a being as himself required on God’s part ‘the exceeding greatness of his power.’

Paul says it is this power that is being directed on our behalf; and understandably so, because we are to be awakened in the likeness of our Lord, a part of this New Creation of God. In another epistle Paul again speaks of God’s efforts on our behalf, saying, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Subsequent to the verse is shown the reason all things are working together for our good. It is because those “whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.” (Rom. 8:28,29) If we are to be ‘conformed to the image of his Son,’ it will require this greater exertion of God’s power. And is it not true that an important portion of the work upon the New Creation is the present fashioning of character through God-designed and permitted suffering, stress, and trial?


Paul’s special desire for us, however, is not merely an intellectual understanding of the Truth. Rather, he prays that we may have a heart appreciation of the Truth while in the crucible of trial. Herein is a real test of faith. When beset by trial can we, with peace in our hearts, say we know that this is for our highest eternal welfare? Such tranquility of heart comes only with much faith. There are no shortcuts to this rest of faith; there are no magic formulas. When we are hard-pressed by difficulties—be they sicknesses, heartaches caused by misunderstandings, privations, or whatever—we must attempt to remember God’s promise, ‘All things work together for [our] good.’ By taking the matter to the Lord in prayer, help can come.

Sometimes we can see the beauty of character the Lord would fashion in us through the trial. Ofttimes we can see no pattern that is being followed and we realize that if there be one we must be patient to see it. Frequently, we sense that the trial is being used to develop in us a deep faith in our God so that we will trust him where we cannot trace him. But faith and effort must be expended on our part till we, like Paul, can say, ‘Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, … for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.’ Let us therefore … walk worthy!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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