I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation with which you are called,…
I. Consider, in the first place, THAT "THEREFORE" OF HIS AND WHAT IT IMPLIES. For there are many reasons for not exhorting people to walk earnestly and carefully, and worthily of their high name and knowledge. It is much pleasanter to dwell exclusively upon the privileges and blessings of Christianity, and to leave its heavy responsibilities and penalties out of sight. But this "therefore" was something that moved the apostle, even from his prison, to fill half his Epistle with earnest, importunate, and pointed admonitions. A very potent "therefore" it must have been — but what was it? It does not appear to have been any one statement or fact in particular, but rather all that has gone before; as if, pausing at the end of the third chapter, he had been reading over what he had written, and had been so moved by it that he felt compelled, constrained, to break off into this exhortation. It is this strong feeling in his mind which finds expression in that word "therefore." And what was it that he had been writing about? Why, it was the marvellous grace and loving kindness of God towards the Gentiles revealed to him, and preached by him; their fellowship in Christ, their union with the remnant of Israel and with one another in one divinely constituted body, their eternal predestination to this grace and adoption in Christ.
II. Consider, in the second place, THE TITLE WHICH ST. PAUL HERE ASSUMES IN ORDER TO GIVE FORCE TO HIS EXHORTATION: "I, the prisoner of (or rather in) the Lord." Himself a prisoner, enduring a painful captivity for the Master's sake, how properly might he exhort them in liberty to be true to their colours and to the standard of Christ. And this may lead us to reflect how universally true it is that Christianity needs example in order to be believed and obeyed. It is too weighty to be accepted on its own strength, too little favourable to the natural pride and indolence of men, too tremendous in its promises, revelations, claims, and assumptions. Men are beginning to perceive that the Christianity of Christ and His apostles was intended to be a life — a supernatural life, indeed, because the life of Christ Himself, and yet a life to be lived amongst men by ordinary people, and to be readily distinguished by certain palpable differences from the natural life of men.
III. Consider, in the third place, WHAT IT WAS OF WHICH THEY WERE TO WALK WORTHY. Their "calling," or "vocation" — what was it? Not anything which we speak of now as a "calling," such as we follow for gain, or honour, or convenience, or even for duty: this calling whereof the apostle speaks is of God. It is, in fact, His invitation, which He has addressed to each one of us as inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.
(R. Winterbotham, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,