2009-01-16 - Our Unity
A month or so ago I began a look at the fourth chapter of Ephesians. If you'd like a refresher on Our Walk found in the first three verses you can read it at http://www.cfdevotionals.org/devpg08/de081212.htm.
Ephesians 4:4-6 (NKJV) There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Though we may walk alone at times we walk together in unity at all times. True Christians through the ages have clung to the essentials of the faith. In my opinion, Paul hits the highlights of those essentials in these seven "ones".
First, we are one body. I do not care if you live in the United States or Russia if you and I belong to Christ we are part of the same body. If your local body calls itself Greek Orthodox and my local body is Southern Baptist as long as we preach the same Jesus, who is the son of God - God of very God - that came to earth as a man, died and rose again the third day, then you and I are of the same body.
We are one body because we are indwelled by one Spirit - the Holy Spirit. He is the comforter whom Jesus spoke of in John 14. This Spirit seals us. "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise," (Ephesians 1:13)
In addition, because we are sealed we share the one hope of our calling. We know we will live forever in his kingdom.
In that kingdom there is but one Lord. He is our King and Savior, Jesus. "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." (Revelation 19:16)
I spoke earlier of the one faith that unites us. Paul proclaimed that faith in his letter to the church at Corinth. "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NIV)
One baptism - at times I wish Paul had not put this on his list because it is the one that divides us so easily. Some say water baptism is an essential part of salvation and others argue that it is only a good work that should follow salvation. Some say baptism must involve full immersion and others say that sprinkling is enough. However, I say that the critical baptism that all believers must share is baptism in the Holy Spirit. Only full immersion in him matters. A dirty nasty sinner can go through baptismal waters and still be a dirty nasty sinner but he cannot endure a baptism by the Spirit without being a completely changed man.
Lastly, we have One God and Father. The Father is God, his son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Each is God but they are one God. As our creator, they are the father of all that was, is, and ever will be.
It is in these truths that we as Christians are united.
Next week I hope to continue with our diversity. Until then.
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted