There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were 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.
Even the casual reader of this section of Scripture (a section thought to be an ancient Christian hymn or creed) is struck by Paul’s repletion of a single word, one. In fact, it occurs seven times – three times alluding to the three Persons of the Trinity, and four times the Christian experience in relation to God.
In summary there is one body because there is one Spirit. By one Spirit we are all baptized into one body (1 Cor 12:13). The One Holy Spirit comes into our heart and integrates us into the one body. Then there is one hope related to our calling, and one faith and one baptism, which inaugurates into that calling, because there is one Lord. Jesus Christ, our one Lord is the object of our faith, hope and baptism. Lastly there is one family, and thus one Father who is over the entirety of that family.
As the unity of the Godhead is inviolable, so the unity of the church is as well. John MacArthur writes:
Every biblical metaphor of the church, without exception, emphasizes its unity. The church is one Bride with one husband; one Flock with one shepherd; the Branches on one vine one Kingdom with one king; one Family with one father; one Building with one foundation; one Body with one head. Each of these illustrations involves one group related to the same perfect leader, Jesus Christ. Positionally, each believer stands on the same ground in Christ.
The unity of the church is as indestructible as the unity of the Godhead upon which it rests. It is no more possible to split the church than it is to split the Trinity. One may ask then: Why all of these denominations, bickering, infighting, and divisions? Truth be told, the church seems to be very successful in doing the very thing that we are instructed we cannot do. How is the rampant visible disunity in the church consistent with the Biblical affirmation of indestructible unity?
In order to understand this, we need to understand the distinctions between the visible and invisible church: the church militant, here on earth, and the church triumphant, the church of the first born in heaven. The church’s unity is an invisible reality in the mind of God. So that though there might be hundreds of different denominations – some even not talking to each another – we are nevertheless one, for God says we are one.
Let us not acquiesce in the tragedy of visible disunity, but rather let us endeavor to keep the unity of the church. Christians must end their party bickering and return to the oneness of a redeemed people. After all, we owe that distinct unity to having been brought into one body by one Spirit having one hope, one faith, and one baptism because there is one Lord, and we are in one family under the same God and Father of all.
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