The apostle Paul exhorted the brethren of Ephesus to endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:2). Can you just imagine for a moment what it would be like if all who profess to be Christians were in complete unity? Now, I said “unity”, not “union”. There is a world of difference between the two. It has accurately been said that one can tie two cat’s tails together and hang them over the clothes line and you will have union, but you certainly will not have unity. Just agreeing to disagree is far from Biblical unity. Amos asked, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed” (Amos 3:3)? Writing to the Corinthian church, Paul said, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Cor. 1:10). That is the unity of the Spirit Paul spoke of. And, Jesus prayed that all believers would be one, as the Father and the Son are one (John 17:21). Now, if all that call themselves Christians were in fact, in complete unity as described here, there is no telling what could be accomplished in this land. But sadly, that is certainly not the case. “Christendom” is so divided with various names, creeds and practices that it doesn’t even resemble that which Paul exhorted and the Lord prayed for. So how could we possibly have such unity? One can find a seven plank platform for “the unity of the Spirit” in Eph. 2:4-6).
Now, we are going to skip over three of these seven planks without discussing them. The reason is; most all of us are already in agreement on these three. There is one Lord, one Spirit and one God the Father. I have heard a lot of foolish teaching in the name of Christianity, but I have never even heard anyone try to get people to believe that there is any more than one of each of these. But, there are four more “one” that Paul speaks of, and if we could all come to an agreement on these four as we are on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, then we could have the kind of unity that the Lord prayed for.
“There is one body” (Eph. 4:4). Now, the body is the church (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). Therefore, one can just as accurately say, “There is one church”. But, the world is full of people saying that one church is as good as another, which is adequate evidence that they not only recognize that there are many churches, but also that they believe that such is acceptable to God. We have even heard preachers on the radio thank God for the many denominations. This is the same as thanking God for all the division, which seems strange for a preacher to do after the Lord prayed for unity and Paul condemned division. Jesus said, “…I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). It will not be until after we have all recognized that the Lord built His church and that all others are man-made organizations that do not have God’s stamp of approval, that we will be able to have the unity of the Spirit. One can no more have such unity while accepting the “church of your choice” mentality than one can have unity while having the “Father, Son and Holy Spirit of your choice” mentality.
Paul said that there is “one faith”. The word faith in this text refers to the entire body of belief that is held. The faith is the gospel of Christ. Paul preached the gospel (Rom. 1:16), but described it to the Galatians as “…preacheth the faith which once he destroyed” (Gal. 1:23). Jude spoke of needing to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). Now, many have their manuals, their disciplines, their catechisms and their confessions of faith, but unity of the Spirit will not come without casting aside all these and simply following the “one faith” given by the inspiration of God in the New Testament. If you do not accept “many Gods” then you can’t accept “many faiths”.
Paul said that there is “one baptism” (Eph. 4:5). Certainly anyone that knows anything about the Bible knows that more than one baptism is spoken of. There is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of fire (Matt. 3:11), there is John’s baptism (Acts 18:24-25) and there is baptism in the name of Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 19:5; Acts 2:38). Space will not allow a full investigation of all these, but when Paul wrote to Ephesus, he said that there was only one baptism at that time. That one baptism was the baptism in the name of Christ, which he had administered to some of those very Ephesians (Acts 19:5). This is the one baptism that is a necessity to having the unity of the Spirit. It is the one that puts all into the same body (I Cor. 12:13).
Finally, Paul said that there is “one hope of your calling” (Eph. 4:4). The gospel calls every person to come to the Lord in obedience (II Thess. 2:14). When the Lord returns, He will take vengeance on all those who do not obey the gospel (II Thess. 1:7-9). Man may say, “we’re all going to the same place, we’re just taking different routes to get there”, but the fact is; the only hope that anyone has is the hope give by obedience to He who died on the cross to pay the redemption price (Heb. 5:8-9). There is just one hope of your calling!
Paul’s seven plank platform for unity will result in the unity of the Spirit, but only when man is willing to lay aside all their own planks and stand firm on those given by inspiration.
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