UNITY: The Unity of the Spirit
Roy E. Cogdill
God has not left man free to devise his own basis of unity. If believers are to be united, it must be upon the basis which God has willed. Worldwide union without the unity revealed by the Spirit to be the will of God and the commandment of Christ will accomplish nothing but to deceive the hearts of men who do not know the truth.
There is but one God and Father of us all and all of us must believe in and worship the same God. There is but one Lord, law-giver, and therefore, but one source of spiritual and eternal by this same authority without the conclaves, councils, and congresses which men have devised. "Christ is the head over all things to the church, which is his body" (Eph. 11 :23). Men can unite under no other head whether it be the Catholic Pope, or the Mormon president. All human sources of authority are divisive and are in conflict with the authority of Christ.
So also there is "One Spirit" (Eph. 4:4). The unavoidable implications of this principle of divine truth are extensive and fundamental in the unity that pleases God and for which Christ prayed. Let us consider some of these implications.
1) If there is one Spirit and the work of the Spirit is divine revelation, then there is but one revelation! This should be as clear as the sunlight. Paul tells us only the Spirit of God can reveal to us the mind of God (1 Cor. 2:10-11). He further states, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God (1 Cor. 2:12).
If all of God's will is revealed by one and the same Spirit to us all, then it should and must follow that we all receive the same message. God's Spirit does not speak one thing to one man and another thing to another man. The Holy Spirit speaks and reveals the same message to all men. If there is one God, and that one God has but one mind, then God's will cannot in any wise allow confusion of ideas or words to express those ideas. Paul declared, "For God is riot the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints" (1 Cor. 14:33). Therefore, where confusion of ideas and doctrines exist, they cannot be charged to God and they are not pleasing in His sight.
Moreover, when God's mind or will is revealed by the Spirit of God and only the Spirit of God, there is no confusion or conflict in that revelation. If the Spirit has faithfully revealed God's mind and only the mind of God, and there is no confusion in the will of God, then there cannot be any confusion in the revelation of God's will made by the Spirit of God. This leaves absolutely no room for differences in things believed and taught. The revelation of the Holy Spirit is exactly the same unto us all. God speaks the same thing to us all. We either are willing to accept that revelation, the same revelation, without addition or subtraction, or alteration, or we refuse the will of God. This demands unity in Faith and practice upon the Word of God alone as Our standard.
2) If there is but one Spirit and the work of that Spirit is divine revelation, there is, then, but one rule by which all of us must walk. We are to walk, as Christians, by the same rule (Phil. 3:16). That, rule is &,en as the will of Almighty God by the Spirit and does riot vary, therefore, we are to walk after, by, or in the same Spirit (Romans 8:1-17). In fact, in these verses Paul admonishes that Christians are to walk, be led by, live, mind, be in the same Spirit. If this is true, the Spirit will dwell in us and bear witness that we are the children of God. Guided by the same Spirit, living and walking by the same rule of righteousness, we will be agreed and can walk along together (Amos 3:3).
3) When the same Spirit guides us as members of the body of Christ, which is His church, we will walk and work together, each of us serving in our individual capacities as members of that body but in perfect .symphony and harmony as members of the same body living, walking, and serving by the same rule or led by the same Spirit. This very valuable lesson was fully taught by Paul to the Corinthians. "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many (1 Cor. 12:12-14). "But God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: that there stiould be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another (1 Cor. 12:2425).
This is the only basis for unity that is pleasing to God. As long as we go along pretending and professing that the Spirit of God speaks one thing to one man and another thing to another man, conflicting and confusing in their nature, we will make a mockery of God's will and the revelation of it given by the Spirit and will cause men to be confused by our pretenses and professions.
If we are interested in unity, then we must remember that the only unity that pleases God is based upon the fundamental principle that we must all be led by the same Spirit through the same Word revealed by Him. Divine revelation without human compromises is the only basis of unity possible.
Truth Magazine XX: 29, p. 457