SOON after Paul had set forth the charter of the church
in the epistle to the Ephesians, he entreats the saints to keep the
unity of the spirit with the tie of peace. It consists of seven separate
unities, including one body and one Lord. Today a portion of
Christendom is seeking to make an organization of many bodies with
many heads. They absolutely ignore the great truth that, in spirit the
ecclesia already is one body, and has a Head. Union does not need to be
made, but to be observed.
The "World Council of Churches," representing less than a third of nominal
Christianity, split into about one hundred and sixty denominations, is
seeking to make a superficial union of these sects by means of compromise
and unscriptural organization. it totally ignores the unity of the
spirit, which has been made by God by imparting His spirit to those whom
He calls. This spirit has already united them into one body, and has made
them subject to one Lord, so that, in fact, this council is denying the
divine, spiritual unity, and seeking to set up spurious superficial
"Christians" today belong to many man-made Church organizations, but all
who are called by God among them, who have His spirit, are members of
the living organism which is figuratively called the body of Christ. He
has only one body, so all have the same life and the same Lord, and
there can be no other. Although the World Council cannot repeal the vital
bond which holds the saints together, there is perhaps no more effective
means of hindering the living body of Christ than to build an artificial
corpse to take its place, made up of nominal "Christians" without the
spirit, including many mistaken saints. What real fellowship can there be
Immediately after Paul set forth the truth for today in the first half of
Ephesians, he entreats us to walk worthily of such a rich revelation, and
urges us to keep the unity of the spirit which characterizes it.
That the thought of unity pervades the first part of Ephesians is shown in
the expressions one new humanity (2:15), one body (2:16), both one
(2:14), and joint allotment, joint body, and joint partakers (3-6).
Such a unity as this is found nowhere outside of Paul's writings, or in
any other administration than the present. As Christendom practically
ignores this, it cannot be united except on false and fallacious premises.
The fact that the one body is a joint body shows that it was composed of
two, the Circumcision and the Uncircumcision. The opening verses of
Ephesians refer to the Circumcision saints. But, in the thirteenth verse,
Paul includes the Uncircumcision--you also--for they had received the same
earnest, the holy spirit, which is the seal of our allotment. As
circumcision is a fleshly rite, and, in the new creation, the flesh is not
recognized (2 Cor.5:16), this division is now ignored in the one body. It
embraces all the saints, or holy ones, who have been hallowed by God's
spirit. That is the one and only condition for membership in the one body.
But those who lack this, as most "Christians" do, possess no divine life,
so can never be members of the ecclesia which is the body of Christ.
Before Paul the main cause of disunity was the special physical supremacy
of Israel. This no longer exists. Today the divisions are largely
doctrinal. The so-called "Catholic" (DOWN-WHOLE) church was split when the
bishopric of Rome was separated for heresy. The "Protestant" was largely a
revolt against its teachings. And so the innumerable sects all of which
claim to follow the Bible more closely in doctrine or practice, all fail
to follow Paul's teaching for today, all feel called upon to start a new
unity, and ignore Paul's plea to keep the spirit's unity with the tie of
peace. The moment we make our own unity, we break that of the spirit.
As we cannot accept many of the traditions of Christendom, such as the
purgatory of the Catholics, or the everlasting torment of the Protestants,
and the innumerable differences between the numerous denominations, and
are forced to stand alone to a large extent, and have more and clearer
light on God's eonian purpose and the present secret administration, there
is a strong temptation to consider ourselves superior to the rest, and to
confine our fellowship to like-minded saints, and thus form another and
newer sect. May we never be found guilty of erecting barriers between
ourselves and other members of Christ's spiritual body!
Let us learn the lesson which this awful apostasy from the faith should
teach us. The very fact that Paul entreats us to walk worthily, with
humility, should show us that our calling, the highest of all, is apt to
gender pride, so that we consider ourselves superior to others, and thus
destroy the unity. The same seems to be implied by the exhortation to
patience and forbearance. Only thus will we be able to keep the unity
of the spirit. All pride due to superiority in the flesh or in knowledge
is absolutely excluded when we remember the grace which was shown us in
Christ before eonian times.