In I Corinthians 14:33 we read this very interesting statement:
“GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF CONFUSION.”
In this same Epistle, we read in verse twenty-five of chapter twelve, “that there should be no schism in the Body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” With this statement let us read Ephesians 4:4:
“THERE IS ONE BODY.” And let us also read I Corinthians 12:12 and 13.
“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.”
Then note the question, in I Corinthians 1:13—“IS CHRIST DIVIDED?” There is one Christ. There is one Body of Christ. That Body is called, “the fulness of Christ.” In Ephesians 5:31 and 32, we learn that Christ and His Body are one flesh. They are called in Ephesians 2:15, “ONE NEW MAN.” Then we read in Ephesians 4:7 to 14, that every member of the Body is given grace to help in God’s work, “for the edifying (building up) of the Body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12. All the members of that one Body, who have special gifts, are:
“FOR THE PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS, FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY, FOR THE EDIFYING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST: TILL WE ALL COME IN THE UNITY OF THE FAITH, AND OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD, UNTO A PERFECT MAN, UNTO THE MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULNESS OF CHRIST.” Ephesians 4: 12 and 13.
“Unto a perfect man”, “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” God will accomplish His purpose. The Perfect Man will be a reality. The Body of Christ is the fulness of Christ. This is what God is doing during this age of grace—If you are a labourer together with God, this is what you should be doing.
Now it must be apparent to any intelligent spiritual Christian that God is not building two or three churches, to say nothing of two or three hundred churches. No; God is interested in completing His own one Building.
“In Whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In Whom ye also are building together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:21 and 22.
Now remember that God is not the author of confusion. But there is plenty of confusion. God’s desire is that there should be no division in the Body. In God’s purpose and program Christ is not divided. The Body is one. So also is Christ. Just as true as there is one God the Father, God recognizes but one Church in this age; and God does not look with favor and approval upon the sectarian churches of men. There is one Body, even as there is one Christ, the Lord, one Spirit and one baptism. God is building “One New Man”, and not 300 New Men, except as every member of the One Body has put on the new man.
God’s will is, that all the members of His one Church should believe and practice the truth of Ephesians 4:1 to 7; that they should recognize the seven-fold unity mentioned in those verses and keep the unity of the Spirit.
We emphasize the fact that all saved people are members of Christ’s one Body, members one of another, all one in Christ Jesus, with Him, “one flesh” and, “One New Man.” Romans 12:4 and 5—Galatians 3:27 and 28.
By one Spirit all believers are baptized into One Body. God’s will is, that there should be no division in the Body. The members of Christ’s Body are growing up into Him in all things, which is the Head, Christ. Ephesians 4:15. How many Christians give any heed to Colossians 2:19, “holding the Head, from which all the Body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered and knit. together, increaseth with the increase of God?”
Members of Christ’s Body are labourers together with God. I Corinthians 3:9. Spiritual, intelligent. obedient believers will not create or contribute to confusion by labouring to build up a sectarian church. Sectarianism is confusion. God demands unity. God is not the author of confusion. But confusion exists. There are more than three hundred sectarian churches, with different denominational creeds and church programs. Think of the Christians who glory in “our Baptist denomination”, “our great Methodist church”, “our great Lutheran church.”
Most Christians are indifferent as to the pitiable state of affairs. Others see the malady, but they see no remedy. They say, “we are helpless”; “denominations will continue and any endeavor to better the predicament only makes it worse.” What a revolution would take place if Christians would learn and propagate the truth of Ephesians and Colossians.
Many advocate union meetings and join interdenominational organizations with the understanding that no mention be made of doctrinal differences. But God is not interested in building up a united interdenominational organization. God is more interested in breaking it up. God is building into, and building up, one Building, and that Building is the one Bible Church which is the Body of Christ, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all. That Church in Ephesians and Colossians was truly “the Church of the Mystery”, but the mystery has been disclosed and God wants all of His children to see it. Ephesians 3:9.
Church officers and sectarian leaders receive members into their church organization; but God never by the Holy Spirit baptized any individual into the Lutheran Church, or the Baptist Church, or the Methodist Church, or the Presbyterian Church, or into any other sectarian church. Not one of those churches is mentioned in the Bible. God baptizes believers into the Body of Christ, all in one Body. God wants no division in the Body. In most communities, the Lutherans and the Baptists have very little fellowship in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lutherans receive their little children by sprinkling into Lutheran Church membership. The Baptists declare such teaching and practice to be unscriptural and heretical. They declare that immersion is the only true Bible form of baptism, and the individual must first exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ before being immersed. There are other doctrinal differences. All saved Lutherans and all saved Baptists have been baptized into the death of Christ, into the Body of Christ, have been buried with Christ, raised up with Christ, and all together seated in the heavenlies in Christ. They are members one of another in God’s sight. But they do not endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit, in obedience to Ephesians 4:3, principally because they have added a sectarian water ceremony to the one baptism of Ephesians 4:5. Anyone who brings water baptism into the dispensation of the mystery attempts to make God the author of confusion.
We might also consider the Church of the Disciples and the Presbyterian Church. They have very decided differences in doctrines. But the principal reason why they do not endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit is because they have added their sectarian baptism to the one baptism of Ephesians 4:5. The Disciples teach baptismal regeneration by immersion. The Presbyterians practice sprinkling and teach that a little water on the head now takes the place of circumcision in the flesh. They sprinkle parents and children. They have overlooked the fact that girls were not circumcised. Unity is impossible because one of the conditions of the unity of Ephesians 4:3 to 6 is one baptism; and that one baptism has nothing whatever to do with any human religious ceremony. God’s one circumcision today is the Divine circumcision of Colossians 2:11, not made with hands. God’s one baptism is the very same and man has nothing to do with it except to receive it by faith.
Every intelligent member of the Body of Christ, who obeys II Timothy 2:15, knows that he is living under God’s reign of grace when sinners are saved “by grace through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8 and 9.
From any such student of the Word you will receive a dogmatic, hearty, negative answer to any of these questions:
1. Does a person have to join any organized company of believers to be saved, or to reach heaven?
2. Does a person have to be baptized with water, in any manner, to be saved ?
3. Is water baptism necessary to become a member of the one and only true Bible Church during this clay of grace?
4. Is water baptism a Scriptural requirement for Christian fellowship?
The messenger of grace will say “no” to every one of these questions. And most of them will then join some sectarian or non-sectarian church organization where some form of water baptism is required for membership in the organization, and then refuse to fellowship on the basis of the Divine baptism of Ephesians 4:5. If the “grace” preachers are not to endeavor to clear up the confusion by taking an uncompromising stand for the truth of Ephesians, who will do anything about it?
During one of the recent Founders’ Week Bible Conferences, in the auditorium of the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, one of the speakers who is a spiritual servant of the Lord and a “grace” preacher, gave a very interesting message on “The Recovery of Lost Truth.” He said, “the first blessed truth lost in the first century, was truth concerning the Church of the Mystery, the believer’s union and unity in the Joint Body of Ephesians 3:6; the second truth was the blessed hope, the Lord’s return; the third lost truth was justification by faith.” Then he remarked that they are being recovered in inverted order. “Martin Luther,” he said, “recovered justification by faith.” John Darby recovered the Blessed Hope and something of Church Truth. “But,” said the speaker, “God is still waiting for the recovery of the Truth of the Mystery, as revealed in Ephesians and Colossians.”
In spite of this beloved brother’s knowledge concerning the lost truth, and his apparent convictions, he continues his popular ministry among the Premillenarians with scarcely a mention of the truth that got Paul behind prison doors. It would be interesting to have his answer to the question, “why?”
Paul was chosen by the Lord to be a pattern for believers. Then we referred to his testimony, in Philippians 3:4 to 16, that he had given up his religion for Christ. He adds this, in verse 17, “Brethren, be followers together of me,” “ye have us for an ensample.” Again we read in I Corinthians 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
It is utterly impossible for any member of the Church of Jesus Christ, under the present reign of grace to intelligently interpret, appropriate and apply the Holy Scriptures unless he follows Paul as an ensample and pattern, and is guided by the writings of this man who magnified his office, the apostle to the Gentiles. Romans 11:13. Note the Holy Spirit’s instructions, by the pen of Paul in Romans 16:25 and 26:
“Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to MY gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the Mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.”
Members of the Body of Christ are not stablished unless they are stablished according to “MY” gospel of the Apostle Paul. Glorious profound truths were revealed to the Apostle Paul by the Lord Jesus Christ to give to members of His Body, for the specific purpose mentioned in Ephesians 4:14.
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
Christians who are babes tossed to and fro are not stablished. The Divine Truth, which Paul designated “MY GOSPEL,” “the revelation of the Mystery,” is the message concerning the Son of God that will keep Christians from being “tossed about babies.” Not only does Paul exhort Christians to be “followers together of me,” but he instructs them to be “builders together with me.”
“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth (together) thereupon.” I Corinthians 3:10.
Note the Greek of this word ‘‘buildeth” is “sun-oiko-domeo,” meaning literally “to build a house together.” In the glorious profound truth of Ephesians that will keep the Christian from being a “tossed baby” we learn that God’s purpose, during this present reign of grace, is to build a House. In order that this definite and specific work might be accomplished, the risen Christ gave gifts unto men: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying (House building) of the Body of Christ till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God. unto a Perfect Man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Ephesians 4:12 and 13.
Let us emphasize that. God’s will is to “build up the Body of Christ.” Christians are labourers together with God in the “House-building” business. But if they are to build intelligently and well pleasing to God, they must build together with Paul, the wise masterbuilder. Christian laborers are thus instructed in I Timothy 3:15: “how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the House of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
Every member of the Body of Christ should desire to know how to behave in the House of God, which is the Body of Christ. Every member of the Body of Christ should desire to know how to build up that House while they are preaching the grace of God to get sinners to believe and go into the House of God once for all.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.