Thursday, September 18, 2014

CONNECTED IN UNITY: The Source of Unity

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)

God is the source of unity.  He is Triune: Father, Son and Spirit, and yet in perfect harmony—oneness with three Persons—we might say in tri-unity.  Now, He not all calls us to follow His model, but furnishes the means for doing so by His very life indwelling us.

Seven times, “one” is used in these three verses to convey God’s expectation for His people.  Seven is the number of completeness and this expresses the complete communion intended for the saints.

We are to be “one body.”  Just as a physical body, with many organs and parts all together working for the good of the person, so the church and her members function like this if healthy.

We share “one Spirit.”  The same Spirit that indwells me, indwells you.  He gifts us in different ways, but every believer has the same Holy Spirit.  He is not the blessing of a privileged few.

We have “one hope,” and that is the hope of Heaven.  Our destiny is glory, where we will abide with all the saints of all the ages.  You may as well get to enjoying your brothers and sisters down here, because you are going to be spending forever with them!

We bow to “one Lord.”  We are fellow citizens of the same Kingdom of God.  All of us have united our voices in pledging allegiance to the Lamb.

We possess “one faith.”  Someone might argue that denominations among Christians run counter to this—and they can.  But, another way to look at denominations is that they are different members of the same universal Body—the local church a microcosm of the worldwide church.  Each has something unique to contribute, but all have a common faith.  Bible-believing Christians, irrespective of some differences around the edges of doctrine are in agreement on the fundamentals of the faith.  If they don’t believe the basics, they aren’t “Christian” no matter the claim they make.

We have “one baptism.”  Again, how can this be a point of unity, when it is one of the issues where Christians disagree?  Some baptize by immersion and some by sprinkling or pouring.  The fact is that even though believers may debate the mode of baptism, they do not dispute the meaning of baptism.  It is a public confession of Christ as Lord—dying to our old life and rising to a new life.  It is the outward testimony of the spiritual reality of baptism into the one Body of Christ by the one Spirit.

We worship “one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”  There is only one God.  He is the object of every true believer’s faith and devotion.  We share Him as the Father who has birthed us into God’s family, making us brothers and sisters.  Four times, the word “all” is driven with the hammer of Truth, nailing us down into relationship with each other—fixed, firm and final!

Unity among believers, then, is the work of God and a testimony to His nature.  Disunity comes from a different location and smells of brimstone and sulfur.  May we be one in the bond of love!

No comments: