“WITH ALL LOWLINESS, AND MEEKNESS, WITH LONGSUFFERING, FORBEARING ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE… “ENDEAVORING TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE. SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE . . . ONE BODY. . . ONE SPIRIT … ONE HOPE OF YOUR CALLING . . . ONE LORD . . . ONE FAITH . . . ONE BAPTISM . . . ONE GOD AND FATHER OF ALL: Ephesians 4:2 to 7.
“BEHOLD, HOW GOOD AND HOW PLEASANT IT IS FOR BRETHREN TO DWELL TOGETHER IN UNITY.” Psalm 133:1
“To us there is one God the Father . . . and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him.” I Corinthians 8:6. Here we have stated the first great important doctrine of Christian unity. The Lord Jesus Christ said, “I and my Father are one.” There is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” “We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once-for-all.” Hebrews 10:10. That once-for-all offering, the Lord Jesus Christ called His “baptism”. Luke 12:50. On the cross of Calvary the Lord Jesus Christ was baptized into death. “So many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death.” Romans 6:3. Christ was buried. Christ was raised. Christ is seated in the highest heavenlies, Head over all things unto the Church, which is His Body. Ephesians 1:9 to 22.
Members of Christ’s Body are buried with. Him by baptism into death. Romans 6:4. They are raised to seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1 to 4. Members of Christ’s Body are alive with Christ and seated with Christ in the highest heavenlies. They were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4. They were called, not according to works, but according to that grace and purpose of God which was given us in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world. II Timothy 1:9. They are waiting for Christ to be manifested, to be manifested with Him in glory. Colossians 3:3 and 4. Christ is in these members, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27. God desires that these members should know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. Ephesians 1:18. This is the one calling that is God’s basis of Christian unity. This calling was God’s purpose in the eternal ages before He called Abraham and chose His servant Israel. Israel’s calling is different from the calling of members of the Body of Christ. A mixture of these callings will hinder, in fact, make impossible, obedience to Ephesians 4:3; “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit.”
There is one Body. There are several churches in the Bible, but God has one and only one Church for today. That Church is the Body of Christ. This Body is clearly described in Ephesians and Colossians; but not in any other Books of the Bible. Christ had a little flock while He was on earth. Luke 12:32 and 33. That was a kingdom flock different from the Body of Christ as to hope and calling. They were not preaching the Glorious Gospel of the Blessed God, which was committed to Paul’s trust. I Timothy 1:11. They knew nothing whatever of the Body of Ephesians and Colossians. They were instructed by their Messiah as to Israel’s kingdom hopes and given the gospel of the kingdom.
All sinners saved by grace, without religion, without works, without a cause, are members of Christ’s Body. They are identified with Him in His “Death Baptism”, which is the one baptism declared by God to be the basis for keeping the unity of the Spirit. It is utterly impossible to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace by mixing Israel’s water baptism with the believer’s death baptism, as it is to mix Israel’s hope and calling with the hope and calling of the Body of Christ. Water baptism is practiced by most of the 350 sects of the Christian Church with many different meanings and in many different ways. This is in total disregard, if not wilfull disobedience, to God’s plain instructions in Ephesians 4:3 to 5. If God desires that we keep the unity of the Spirit on the basis of one baptism, which is a Divine baptism, not made with hands, it is worse than folly to make any attempt to obey God’s instructions with thirty varieties of water baptism.
Can you point to a single Christian practicing water baptism who obeys Ephesians 3:9? “Make all men see what is the fellowship (administration) of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God?” If we are to make men see the mystery (the truth of the Body and the Head) with the hope and calling of this dispensation, we must not expect to show it to them in the Scriptures concerning Israel, where there is no reference to this glorious truth, about which all of the prophets of Israel, and the Lord’s twelve apostles were ignorant as well as silent; but in the writings of the man who was entrusted with this special revelation.
We shall not succeed in getting very many members of the Body of Christ to keep the unity of the Spirit, but let us endeavour in God’s own way and receive God’s commendation.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.