Christians are called to guard the unity that the Spirit has already produced in the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:1-3). This is the peace and unity that the Spirit has produced through the death of Jesus Christ in the place of His saints. This is discussed in Ephesians 2:11-3:13. God has created a new body in the church. He has taken believing Jews and Gentiles and placed them into a new body through the death of Jesus Christ.
So, the Spirit has produced unity in the body of Christ already. We are not commanded to produce that unity. Instead, we are commanded to guard that unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
If you would like to study this more, please see a previous post titled “Walking Like a Saint – Humility, Gentleness, Patience, Unity” (found here:https://bibleliving.blog/2019/07/09/walking-like-a-saint-humility-gentleness-patience-unity/).
If we are to guard the Spirit’s unity in the body of Christ, then we need to understand the basis of this unity. What is our unity based upon? What is the nature of this unity produced by the Holy Spirit?
Ephesians 4:4-6 offers seven truths on which our unity is based. There is one body, one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all. The basis of our unity is in these seven glorious truths.
1. There is one body. This is the body of Jesus Christ, which is His church. Jesus is the head of this group of people made up of Jews and Gentiles who have been reconciled to God through Jesus’ sacrificial death (Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:11-22). This is the universal or invisible church made up of all believers from Pentecost (Acts 2) to the rapture of the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The universal church is seen in the visible church which is made up of local bodies of true believers in Jesus Christ. While there are many local bodies of believers, there is only one body of Jesus Christ – the universal church.
2. There is one Spirit. This is referring to the Holy Spirit, the third Person in the Trinity. He is God, coequal and coeternal with God the Father and God the Son. He is the One who has sealed us for the day of redemption. He “…is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:14). He is the one who created unity within the body through the death of Jesus Christ.
3. There is one hope that belongs to our calling. There is one blessed hope that Jesus Christ will come again (Titus 2:11-14). Believers in Jesus Christ have been born again to a living hope stored up in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:3-4). Followers of Jesus Christ were predestined for this before time began to the praise of God’s glory. Jesus has made this hope possible through His death in our place for our sin and His resurrection from the dead (1 Peter 1:3-4). When our Lord Jesus returns, we will be like Him for we will see Him as He is (1 John 3:1-3).
4. There is one Lord Jesus Christ. It is through His person and work that we are reconciled to God and brought into His body, the church (Ephesians 2:11-22). He is our head. He is the source of life and leadership for the church (Ephesians 1:22-23). He has purchased those who trust in Him with His own blood, because He has died in our place for our sins (Ephesians 1:7-8). This is all according to the riches of His grace. Have you experienced this grace? Have you turned to Jesus Christ? Turn to Him and trust in Him to rescue you from sin based upon His death in the place of sinners and His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-11).
5. There is one faith. This is the one faith shared by all believers. It has been given to us as a gift from God to believe in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). All true believers in Jesus Christ share this trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. This faith has been produced by the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17). We have come to Him as vile sinners entrusting ourselves to Him to be rescued from our sin and the judgement of God’s wrath in hell. Again, have you trusted in Him? The Lord has said, “Turn to me and be saved all the ends of the earth! For I am God and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:22).
6. There is one baptism. This is not speaking of water baptism. This is speaking of the one baptism of the Holy Spirit shared by all who trust in Jesus Christ, whether they have been baptized with water or not (1 Corinthians 12:13). This is not a second experience after salvation. It is the experience of all who have trusted in Jesus Christ. It has taken place at the moment of initial faith in Jesus Christ. All believers share in this baptism.
7. There is one God and Father of all. Let’s keep this in context. The “all” here is not speaking of every human being without exception. We are not all God’s children. The “all” is referring to all who are in Christ. He is the Father from whom the whole family of believers in heaven and on earth is named (Ephesians 3:14-15). All who are in Jesus have God the Father as their Father. Only those who are in Christ have God the Father as their Father. He is the one God and Father of all true believers in Jesus. Do you know God the Father as your Father? Consider John 1:12 – “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” We are brought into the family of God through embracing Jesus Christ. We receive Him by trusting in Him.
These seven glorious truths are the basis of the unity that the Spirit has produced. Our unity is not based in our preferences or in temporal things. Our unity is based in deep doctrine.
Are you being diligent to guard this unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?
Grace to you and peace,
slave of Christ Jesus by God’s will.
Notice: Unless otherwise noted: “Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.” https://www.crossway.org/permissions/