fellowship - the unity of the spirit
“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all (Eph. 4:3-6).
We can see straight away that the Apostle speaks here of “the Unity of the Spirit”. He shows how this Unity of The Spirit is connected with the “One body” of true believers: for they are in Harmony with the “One Spirit” of God
The people (Ephesians) of the One Body, to whom Paul was writing, also shared the same Hope. This was The One Hope, a hope of Salvation based on believing the promises set forth in the Bible.
In Verse 5 Paul goes on to say that there is “One Lord”, that is the one & only Lord Jesus Christ: the One Faith is a belief in the One God & His only begotten son & the Gospel. The One Baptism is into these beliefs. Those to whom Paul was writing had been Baptized into this One Faith.
We note here that Paul makes reference to One God as distinct from the One Lord of V5. This highlights the fact That the Lord Jesus is not God, he is not the Father, but the Son of God.
THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT
There are seven aspects to unity described by Paul:
- One Spirit
- One Body
- One Baptism
- One Faith
- One Hope
- One Lord
- One God
All these elements delineated by Paul in this chapter are necessary For “the Unity of the Spirit” to exist. The above are all listed in the passage (read Ephesians 4:4-6) We have altered the order of the points a little, to reflect the order in which we shall be dealing with them.
Lets take a look at the Greek word translated “Unity”:
“Make every effort to preserve the unity of [provided by; available through] the Spirit in [through] the peace that joins us together [Lit. bond of peace].”
THE WORD “UNITY”
Greek : ἑνότης
Pronunciation : hen-ot-ace’
Oneness, i.e. (figuratively) Unanimity
agreement by all people involved; consensus:
we have achieved a degree of unanimity: agreement, accord, harmony, concord, unity, union, solidarity, unison, consensus, like-mindedness, assent; uniformity.
We get the idea of the word “Unity” from the original & the English usage; we see how it indicates a degree of Harmony, thus the Unity of the Spirit is a harmonious entity.
Adopting and holding fast the “unity of the spirit” of Truth, produces the oneness of mind on doctrine and practice amongst believers.
Unanimity is agreement by all people in a given situation. When unanimous, everybody is of the same mind and acting together as one …
The Apostle describes in Philippians chapter 1:
“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27)
The unanimity is of or from the one spirit. The believers were to strive to maintain this Unity Of The One Spirit acting together as one.
“One Spirit” involves Adopting the mind or logic of The Spirit; this mind is opposite to the natural mind, or thinking of the flesh, as:-
- One Spirit
“… that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Rom. 8:4-5).
We need then to walk after the spirit ie. in harmony with the spirit of God. Only if we adopt the mind of the spirit can we have hope of salvation. So it is written:
”Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Phil. 2:2)
“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you” (2 Cor. 13:11)
“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous” (1 Pet. 3:8)
So this oneness of mind is being emphasized all the time in Paul’s letters to the Ecclesias.
The Apostle Peter also emphasizes this point in 1Peter 3:8. From these words, we see that this oneness of mind is all to do with the unity of the spirit.
“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:9, 10)
As we cited earlier, “unanimity is agreement by all people in a given situation. When unanimous, everybody is of the same mind and acting together as one …”
This is how the Ecclesia should be, having the same values, making the same judgements. This passage encapsulates the spirit of Unanimity that the believers should have ie; everybody is of the same mind and acting together as one.
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph. 4:17-18).
Notice the terms used here:
Alienated from the life of God
through … ignorance
So if we are ignorant of Gods truth we are alienated from him. The members of the one body need to be instructed by the Bible of the Doctrines they should believe & how they must also walk according to Christ’s commandments:-
“If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:21-24).
So for members of the One Body, it is necessary to be taught of God through His Spirit word—The Bible. This is how we hear and learn of these truths. Lets take a closer look at v24:-
“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness “ (Eph. 4:24).
“With that new and better self which has been created to resemble God in the righteousness and holiness which come from the truth” (Eph. 4:24)
So we need to find “the truth”, then we can be instructed how to abide in “The Truth”, instructed how to attain unto the righteousness & true holiness which is acceptable to God. True holiness is what we need to attain unto that we might be members of the one true body.
- One Body (The Body of Christ)
So considering further Eph 4:4
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling …”
Speaking to the believers Paul says:
“ … the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.”
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1 Cor. 12:21, 27)
“For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones” (Eph. 5:30)
The believers are members of his body in a figurative sense. Only those who know and speak “The Truth” can truly be members of the “one body”; united by unanimity of true belief. If we don’t have this unanimity of belief we are not part of this one Body but alienated from it. We read :
“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph. 4:15-16)
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Eph. 4:3-7).
- One Baptism (into the One Body)
“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”. (1 Cor. 12:12-13).
True baptism is essential for salvation, as Jesus said to his disciples:
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16).
Again we read:
“But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (Acts 8:12).
After the day of Pentecost the spirit came upon the Apostles & they began to preach by the Spirit the teachings of the Gospel. They got quite a wide audience in Jerusalem & then the record states:
“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:41-42).
“Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47)
So to “be saved” (v 47) we must have “gladly received his word” (v41) be baptised, continue “steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” – and in God’s sight, be members of the one true body and ecclesia.
CHURCH = Ecclesia
From a compound of
[ek or ex -out of]
and a derivative of
[kaleo- to call]
i.e. those called out
We have seen then that there is only one true faith that can bring salvation, that can bring this unity of and with the Spirit of God.
(To be Continued)