I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation with which you are called,
How comes it to pass, that one half of this Epistle is made up of exhortation? Does not this force itself on one's conviction as its cause — that the saints of God need it? They want not only to be comforted, they want not only to be taught, but they want to be roused.
I. First AS IT REGARDS THEIR PRIVILEGE. Beloved, it is one of the greatest that can be communicated to a fallen sinner. My dear hearers, in one sense, there is not a creature on earth, but what has a call of God to serve Him. There never could be a state in which there could be no law, because the very law of creation puts a man under obligation to serve God. But this is an especial calling; a call of a higher order, a covenant calling, an effectual calling: secured by the certainty of the Divine counsel, and never to be frustrated by man. We find in the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians, that it is a call to liberty; "brethren, ye have been called unto liberty." Ah! man, with all his fond ideas of liberty, knows nothing of liberty, till he is under the teaching of God the Holy Ghost; for man, by nature, is a bond slave. Oh! the liberty of a free spirit; that can look death in the face, that can look quietly from the troubles of life to the God that ordained them, and find peace and rest in the midst of them! But observe, they are described as having been called into the holy fellowship of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9) — "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of the Lord Jesus Christ." But they are also called to glory, to His kingdom.
II. Let us now, secondly, speak of THE EXHORTATION THAT STANDS BASED ON THIS GLORIOUS PRIVILEGE. "I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles": "I therefore beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called." He does not beseech them to be worthy of that vocation. But he beseeches them to walk worthy of their vocation, their calling, because they have received such wondrous mercy. And if you ask me how they could do it? — in proportion as you walk in holy liberty, as you walk in the peace of the gospel, as you walk in the fellowship of Christ, as you walk in the path of holy walking. But I would remark, beloved, by way of concluding observation — see what place humility of soul occupies in this passage before us. Observe, "Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness." He did place it first; and it is its right place; it is the great place, next to faith, hope, and love. The more a man knows of the crucified One, the lower he lies; the more he knows of the depth of God's grace, the more he abases himself. Observe, too, what great stress is laid here upon what are the passive graces of the spirit. We ought to contend for activity; we live in days in which activity is required; not only activity of opposition, but activity of dispersion of God's truth. But if you ask, What ought to be in the front? — it is the passive graces of the Holy Ghost. "All lowliness, meekness, long suffering, forbearing one another in love, and endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." But observe that the basis of all is privilege.
(J. H. Evans, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,