“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4–6).
The dominant word of this sentence — Paul used it seven times — is “one.” It describes the whole Trinity — one Spirit, one Lord, and one God and Father of all. Paul dreamed of the church. In so doing, he introduced a beautiful truth: the universal church is one because the Triune God is one.
Because God is one, we are one.
The Spirit created one body. The Lord Jesus Christ established one hope, one faith, and one baptism. The Father is over, works through, and is in each of us. God’s oneness, in a sense, is a picture of ours. Because He is unified, we are unified.
As we have seen already, attitude is critical to the health of the body of Christ, but so is belief. If you believe the church is fracturable (or fractured), your view of its potential will diminish. Paul, to remedy an incorrect perspective, takes the time to teach us a truth to believe: God has one church.
God can see the various denominations, doctrines, methodologies, and traditions which divide us.
He is not unaware of the splits, factions, and controversies which have pushed us apart. He is not oblivious to our differences. But God looks through the mess and sees every true believer. To him, that group is one group, his body.
Picture a family whose children have grown and moved away. Though scattered, the members are still part of one family. Each sibling, we hope, appreciates the others. So God’s family, far and wide, is still one. We should appreciate the varied nature of Christ's church.
Some of the church's divisions are the result of God work through different people, at different times, in different ways. Some of our divisions are a direct result of sin and brokenness. Either way, God sees one indivisible body.
To believe in this unbreakable oneness is essential to the health of the universal church and local churches.
We must know of our dependency upon one another, our union to one another by the Spirit of God. We have the unity of the Spirit; it is ours in Christ. Our goal is to maintain it. We cannot produce unity, but we can cultivate it. But if we do not believe in the oneness deposited into us by God, we won't.
During Fall 2017, I taught Calvary Monterey the book of Ephesians. During the series, I also wrote about Ephesians in sixty-plus short, devotionally styled posts. Each Thursday, through 2018, I will release a post. I hope you enjoy. For the entire series, please visit nateholdridge.com/united-for-unity-posts.