"Endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit
with the tie of peace," Ephesians 4:3. That is, trying to
keep the unity which the spirit has created. That unity is
sevenfold: "One body and one spirit, according as you were called
also with one expectation of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one
baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is over all and through al and
in all," verses 5-6.
Loving, or pretending to love all saints,
irrespective of doctrinal differences is not keeping the unity of the
spirit. Holding meetings in which confusion reigns, is not doing
it. If we truly love all saints, in spite of doctrinal
differences, (a thing greatly to be desired), it is communion of spirit,
Philippians 2:1. All saints are supposed to have this, as well as consolation
in Christ, comfort of love, compassion and pity, same verse and verse
2. These, however, are not sufficient. To this should be
added a mutual disposition.
But keeping the unity of the spirit is a different
matter. The unity of the spirit is a unity that the spirit of God
has created. Keeping it is recognizing and practicing it.
ONE BODY. If we recognize and insist on the
fact that all saints are members of one bodythe body of Christwe
are keeping one seventh of the unity of the spirit. The ecclesia
is a body, in the sense that any group of persons is a body,
figuratively. It is the body of Christ, because it belongs to
Him. The spirit of God, in creating this seven-fold unity, begins
by creating one body.
ONE SPIRIT. Closely allied to the body is the
one spirit. The word is used here to denote an intelligent
principle of action. We are not to regard the one spirit as the
holy spirit. The spirit mentioned here means that all saints are
to be actuated by the spirit of honor to God and His Christ, which is
the spirit of trying to be well pleasing to the Deity, and trying to
honor His word in every respect. Thus we are keeping two-sevenths
of the spirit.
CALLED WITH ONE EXPECTATION OF OUR CALLING.
This must be subdivided. First, we must recognize the fact that we
become saints, not by "accepting Christ," but by being called,
First Corinthians 1:2: Those who are saints accept Christ Jesus THE
LORD, Colossians 2:6. They accept Him as LORD, because He is their
Savior. Speaking of lost sinners becoming saved by accepting
Christ, is not using a pattern of sound words, Second Timothy
1:13. Paul, who is a pattern of us, did not accept Christ.
On the contrary, Christ CALLED him, and made him a saint.
Salvation is in the hand of God, and does not depend on a sinner
changing his will and deciding to "let Christ save him."
God does the changing of the sinner's will, when He calls
Second, we must recognize that there is one expectation
of this calling. It is not true that some saints will be included in the
rapture of the ecclesia, and that others will be left here to go through
the "tribulation," because they did not progress in knowledge
and service as did the others. I have recently seen literature to
this effect. Saints were besought to study and learn, and serve,
so as to not be left out of the rapture. If this were the case,
our expectation would be based on our faithfulness.
Paul sets us right of this score in First
Thessalonians 5:9, 10: "God did not appoint us to indignation but
to the procuring of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died
for our sakes, that, whether we may be watching OR DROWSING, we should
be living at the same time together with Him." While we ought
to be very watchful, yet a failure to do so will not imperil our rapture
at the same time other saints are snatched away for a meeting with the
Lord in the air, for our expectation is of our callingit is not
based on our faithfulness.
Those dear brethren who believe some saints will be
left here to endure the indignation because they have not been
sufficiently faithful are not keeping this part of the unity of the
spirit. But if we recognize that our expectation is of our
calling, we are keeping three-sevenths of the unity of the spiritthat
is, we are sound on the first two parts, also.
ONE LORD. It is manifest that this refers to
the Lord Jesus Christ. A failure to see, and contend for, the fact
that He is our only Lord, would be unfortunate, indeed. There is no
other from whom we may take ordersno other on whose unerring wisdom
we may rely. But this is not the whole story. We must
recognize His division of the word of truth. The words spoken by
Him while He was on earth, are not spoken to us. They are to Israel.
Paul is the minister of Christ Jesus for the nations, Romans
15:16. We must regard his words as those of the risen and
glorified Christ Jesus, Who is our Lord. In the scriptures written
by Paul we find the teaching that is specially for us. We are not
recognizing Christ as Lord, unless we also recognize His right to
partition His word of truth, giving some of Israel and some to us.
No one who "applies" to the ecclesia which is the body of
Christ, the promises made to the Circumcision saints, is recognizing, in
the fullest sense, that Christ is Lord, for he is denying His right to
apply His own scriptures. Being sound as to all the foregoing, we
are keeping four-sevenths of the unity of the spirit.
ONE FAITH. This is a figure of speech, and
indicates that body of truth that is given to us through Paul.
Much of the scripture outside Paul's writings is tied up with this,
since, to disbelieve any one of hundreds of other passages would be to
disbelieve something Paul wrote, also. But THE faith, as used by
Paul, indicates, especially, that body of scripture penned by him.
Given in the new revision of the Concordant Version of the Sacred
Scriptures, this faith is about as easy to read as a daily
newspaper. In a growing rebellion against priest craft, saints are
going to the opposite extreme of placing all emphasis on
"studying," and none on learning. Round table discussions
are the vogue, notwithstanding that about all that is done at such
meetings is the expression of each one's idea about the scripture, and
the meeting breaks up without anyone having learned anything. I
think the scripture rebukes the practice of always learning and never
being able to come into a realization of the truth.
Christ, Whom we are supposed to recognize as the one
Lord, has given to the ecclesia, evangelists, and pastors and teachers, after
having given apostles and prophets to write the text. These gifts
are to herald the word, Second Timothy 4:2. Unless we recognize
those to whom God has given the ability to teach, we remain in the wilderness
of "investigation" by those who are not capable of
investigating, and we never come to a definite conclusion about the
scripture and its teaching. In this same chapter where our text is
found, we find that the gifts are "toward the readjusting of the
saints for the work of dispensing, for the up building of the body of
Christ, unto the end that we should all attain to the unity of the faith
and of the realization of the son of God, to a mature man, to the measure
of the stature of the complement of the Christ, that we may by no means
still be minors, surging hither and thither and being carried about by
every wind of teaching, by human caprice, by craftiness with a view to
the systematizing of the deception," verses 12-14.
If we are "straight" thus far, we are
keeping five sevenths of the unity of the spirit. To reject
evangelists, pastors and teachers is to fail to recognize the paramount
need of unity of the faith.
ONE BAPTISM. I discussed this in the December
issue. Suffice it to say, baptism is in spirit, which is another
figure of speech. Recognizing this, with all the foregoing, we are
keeping six-sevenths of the unity of the spirit.
ONE GOD AND FATHER OVER ALL AND THROUGH ALL AND IN
ALL. Not much needs to be said about this. Recognizing this as
well as all the others, we are keeping seven-sevenths of the spirit's