In a previous post we looked at the basis of our unity as a church body. Ephesians 4:1-3 tells us that the Holy Spirit has produced unity in the body of Christ. This unity has been purchased through the death of Jesus Christ in the place of His saints. Ephesians 4:4-6 tells us the nature and basis of this unity. Our unity is based in seven glorious doctrines!
The post titled “The Basis of Our Unity” presented a summary explanation of these seven doctrines (see here: https://bibleliving.blog/2019/07/09/the-basis-of-our-unity/).
In some upcoming posts, we will look at a more detailed explanation of each of these truths. We will start with this post on the one body – the Body of Christ.
Universal and Invisible
In the context of Ephesians 4, Paul is certainly speaking of the universal church. This is also known as the invisible church, because we cannot see it as a whole. This body includes all true believers in Jesus Christ from Pentecost until the time Jesus returns for the church (Acts 2; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). There is unity in this body. We are united as the body of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is not divided, and all who are united to Him through faith are part of His body. Since our Lord is not divided, those who are in Him are not divided. This is true positionally speaking.
This universal body is an exclusive group. There is only one body. It’s only members are true believers in Jesus Christ. Humanity is not all united under a general belief in some kind of god. There are not multiple ways of coming to God. There is only one God, and there is only one way to come to Him. The one way is through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Actually, Jesus has said that He is “…the way, and the truth, and the life.” No one comes to God the Father except through Jesus Christ. It is only those who have truly turned from sin to trust in Him who are a part of the one body. It is an exclusive body.
Are you in the one body? Have you turned to Jesus Christ through faith alone in Him. He has died in the place of sinners. He will forgive all who will trust in Him. Turn to Him in faith. Trust in Him.
Jesus’ universal body is expressed in local churches. It is impossible to see the universal church. Part of that church is in heaven. The rest is spread throughout the planet. Local churches are local bodies of believers, who are part of the larger universal church.
The New Testament commands us to gather together with these local churches (Hebrews 10:25). The local church gathers to observe the ordinances (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34), publicly read Scripture, and to hear preaching and teaching (1 Timothy 4:13). Each believer has been gifted by the Holy Spirit to serve God and His people (1 Peter 4:10-11). It is impossible to use the gifts God has given to each believer and obey the corporate commands of the Bible without being a part of a local body of believers. We are commanded to be actively involved with a local body of believers.
Local church families are to represent the unity that the universal church has in position. We are to work together within this body to guard the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We are to be diligent to preserve the Spirit’s unity in the local body. We are also responsible to maintain the Spirit’s unity with other true local churches.
This is absolutely impossible without the Gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is central to everything in the church. We are united in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is only because we have been made alive in Him that we can work diligently to maintain the Spirit’s unity. It is only because of His death and resurrection that we are part of this body in the first place. We must certainly strive to guard the unity of the Spirit. This is part of the command of Ephesians 4:1-3. Yet, without God’s enablement based in the Good News of Jesus this will be impossible.
As we strive to guard this unity we must always keep our eyes on Jesus Christ. We must trust in Him to enable us through the Spirit for this monumental task.
In Christ’s Service,
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