By Frank Jamerson
In a previous article, we discussed the fife that is essential in order to have the unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4:1-3). Now, we want to look at the seven facts of unity stated in the next three verses.
Paul said, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all’,’ (Eph. 4:4-6). In order for the “unity of the Spirit” to exist, men must accept these seven facts.
The word “body” emphasizes the unity of God’s people. Christ is the Head and He has but one body. “And he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (1:22, 23). “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, being himself the savior of the body” (5:23). The one church, or body, of Christ refers to all the saved. We are baptized “into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13), or “into Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27). This simply says that baptism is essential to be saved, or to have sins forgiven (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Those who ask “Do you have to be in the church to be saved?” do not understand that the church is the saved!
The Holy Spirit is a Divine Being, just as the Father and Son are Divine Beings. He is not the Father or the Son, but He is “God” (Jn. 14:16, 26; Acts 5:3, 4). The Spirit was to guide the apostles “into all the truth.” (Jn. 16:13). They “spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance” and later wrote the same message for us (1 Cor. 2:13; Eph. 3:3, 4). He is not today inspiring men as He did in the first century, but we have the same message.
Those who claim special revelations or latter-day revelations are denying the revelation that the Holy Spirit gave. Jesus promised the apostles that the Spirit would guide them “into all the truth.” If he did, then there is no “new truth” being revealed, and those who claim such are teaching a “different doctrine” (Gal. 1:6-9).
Hope means “desire” plus “expectation.” All who have obeyed Christ have the same hope. Peter said that God “begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Pet. 1:3, 4). The Bible does not teach two hopes! The Watchtower Society teaches that one hundred forty-four thousand have the hope of heaven and the rest of the saved have hope of living on earth eternally. Other materialists teach that all the saved will live on earth in eternity. God’s word says that there is “one hope” and that is “reserved in heaven.” Any other hope is false.
The word “Lord” signifies “having power, or authority” (W. E. Vine). It happens that this “one” is in the center of the seven “ones.” This may be a coincidence, but it is certainly true that Christ must be the “center” of our lives, as our Master, in order for unity to exist.
The word “Lord” may be applied to either the Father or the Son. In Acts 2:34, 35, Peter quoted David as saying; “The Lord (the Father) said to my Lord (Jesus), Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.” Paul said that God raised Christ from the dead “and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places… and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:20-23). The “one Lord” in this passage refers to Jesus.
The word “faith” refers to that which is believed, the gospel of Christ. “A great number of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). “But before faith came, we were kept in ward under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed” (Gal. 3:23). We are sons of God “through faith” (the gospel), not by the Old Law (Gal. 3:26). We are to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). When men follow creeds, disciplines or the wisdom of men they are not following the “one faith” and unity cannot exist. Followers of Christ have one standard, one faith.
When Paul wrote the book of Ephesians, there was only one baptism in effect. John’s baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit had accomplished their purposes and ceased. Jesus authorized baptism (immersion) “into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:18-20). This commission began to be executed on the day of Pentecost.
The expression “baptism in the name of Christ” (or its equivalent) is used four times ‘in the book of Acts. On the day of Pentecost, believers were told to “repent and be baptized… in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of sins. . .” (Acts 2:38). When Peter and John went to Samaria to lay hands on those who had been baptized by Philip, the record says “for as yet he (the Holy Spirit) was fallen upon none of them: only they had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:16). After Cornelius and his household had received the Holy Spirit, Peter said, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:47, 48). The men in Ephesus who had been baptized with John’s baptism were told to be “baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.” Then Paul laid his hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:5, 6). Baptism “in the name of Christ” is for the remission of sins, in water, and is not Holy Spirit baptism!
The “one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all” is God the Father. He is sovereign (“over all”), everywhere present (“through all”), and constantly abides with His people (“in all”). He purchased us with a price; therefore, we ought to glorify him in our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19, 20). He is the object of our worship, and we must “worship him in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24). Those who are “in Christ” are “children of God” (Gal. 3:26, 27). The fact that we have a common Father should produce unity.
These seven facts of unity constitute a doctrinal basis from which we must work. When men decide that they will be united with those who believe in “many gods” or “many baptisms,” they are not striving for the “unity of the Spirit.” “Many faiths” may be attractive to the ecumenical spirit, but the same Bible that says “one Lord” says “one faith”!
We can enjoy the one hope that the Spirit has revealed by being baptized into the one body and following the one faith that the Godhead has made possible.
Guardian of Truth XXVII: 18, pp. 562-563
September 15, 1983