We have a three-year-old grandson. He is starting to assert his autonomy, mostly with his dad and mum, but also to a lesser extent with his grandpa and grandma. His mum did the same at his age, but she has become quite a reasonable human being, able to get along well with people. She has grown up.

Through the forgiving grace of Jesus, He has removed everything that divides us from God and each other and remade our humanity in unity with God and all people (Ephesians 2:13). He has given our remade humanity back to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. By faith we are now able to live in genuine, heartfelt unity with one another.

Yet, in the church we can still act like immature three-year-olds, insisting on getting our own way and throwing temper tantrums when we don’t. In Ephesians 4 Paul equates Christian “maturity” with truly living out and practicing genuine unity with our Christian brothers and sisters – all of them (vv13; 2-6).

As soon as we have Christian faith, we have up front by grace “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1:3) – key among which is a new life in unity with God and others. But for any gift to be real and benefit us, we must unwrap it, take hold of it, and use it – put it into practice. i.e., we have to stop being self-centred, give up “holding our ground”, and (when it isn’t morally or spiritually wrong) let others have their way before us. 

This is the only way to live in real unity with other human beings, be truly mature as Christians, and to know the full blessing of Jesus in our lives.

Grace upon grace, Jonathan.