In the second half of Ephesians, Paul (or one of his disciples) writes about what this expansive vision of the grace of God means for the community life of the Ephesians (and everyone....). "Live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called", he begins, and he goes on to paint a picture of what that will look like. Humility and patience, compassion and truthfulness -- and most of all, striving for unity, because there is only One Lord, One Baptism, One Faith, even though it looks so much different sometimes (some things never change). There seem to be many factions and warring sects in the church (much to our detriment, Paul understands), but in reality, there is only one Body of Christ. Speak the truth, but speak in Love. Work together. Come out of the darkness and into the light. Forgive each other.
Easy words to understand, perhaps. Harder to do, certainly.
Especially when Paul uses the words, "Be imitators of God, as beloved children." He just throws it out there, like a bomb, an impossible thing. In so few words, can you imagine anything so impossible? Whether you imagine the invisible, immortal, perfect One, or whether you imagine the humble healer, to me it still comes off as mind-blowing and impossible. Unlike God, we need to practice daily self-examination and repentance. When Paul speaks about "telling the truth", the first person we need to tell the truth about is ourselves. (When we get to Philippians, tomorrow, I believe we'll get more insight into just what Paul means by imitating God; at least, that's what I think.) For the moment, what Paul means by imitating God seems to have something to do with being a Lord who does not lord it over others, does not cling to God's own power.
So one of the exhortations here is to "be filled with the Spirit", not an elective but a required course for anyone who wants to live a life worthy of their calling. Be filled with the Spirit, guided and directed by the Spirit, returning to the life of God's spirit within you each and every day.
As the letter winds down, Paul ticks off a list of household instructions, some of which might be hard for us to swallow these days, especially those about wives submitting to their husbands. Paul goes on to explain that Husbands, like Christ, are supposed to be lords who do not lord it over, but still, I think cultural bells go off, that make us say, "even so...." The advice for husbands to love their wives was radical for its day, and it's interesting that while children are to obey their parents, parents are also not to provoke their children to anger. hmmmm. Interesting. (I wonder what this would consist of. Anyone?)
Paul closes with an extended analogy of "the full armor of God." It is interesting to me that all of the tools are for defense (except the Sword of the Spirit). They are not for Offense, but for Defense. In Paul's day, anyway, Christians were much more likely to be wounded than they were to be doing the wounding. Unfortunately, that is not always the case today.