Very frequently we hear the remark I heard this week, “It does not make any difference whether we are Catholics or Protestants, whether we are Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, or Lutherans, if we try to do right, we are all going to the same heaven.” Frequently the question is asked, “to what church do you belong?” Or, “wouldn’t you like to join our church?” There are many people who think they are Christians because they have joined some church organization. If there are as many varieties of Christians as there are sectarian churches, there are quite a number.
In the Bible we read about Christians and Churches, but we do not find one word about Catholics, Protestants, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians or Lutherans. In the Bible we read about heaven and learn how to get there. The only genuine Christian is the “Bible” Christian. The only genuine heaven is the “Bible” heaven. The only sure way to become a Christian and to get to heaven is the “Bible” way. The Bible declares, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the end thereof are the ways of death.” What a delusion! What a disaster! What a serious mistake! Just think of it.! A man thinks he is saved and on the way to eternal glory when he is really lost and on the. way to eternal perdition. A person can ill afford to make: Such a blunder and most assuredly he cannot correct his mistake after he has reached his eternal destiny. We can afford to make other mistakes, but not this one.
Did you ever read these words in the Bible, “Yea, let God be true, though every man a liar”? God is infallible. Man is fallible. God has provided man with an infallible Guide, His infallible Word, the Bible. In that Book we can learn of the whence and the whither of the human race: how men became sinners and how they can become righteous. The Bible records the story of death by Adam, and life by Christ.
We read in this infallible, Divine Record, of these two outstanding unique men, “Adam” and “Christ.” “The first man is of the earth, earthy; the Second Man is the Lord from heaven.” I Corinthians 15:47. “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.” “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:19 and 21.
In Adam all men are sinners, alienated from God. But there is good news for alienated sinners in Romans 5:10: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” And II Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Then it is interesting to compare Genesis 2:21 to 24 with Ephesians 5:31 and 32:
“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof: And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:21 to 24.
Note now Ephesians 5:31 and 32:
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.”
As Eve was a part of Adam and joined to him as one flesh, so the Church is a part of Christ and joined to Him as one flesh. Then we read in I Corinthians 6:17: “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” Then note I Corinthians 12:13: “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.”
God has but one place of salvation, safety, and security for the children of Adam, that is, “in Christ”; in the Church of Christ, that-is, in the Body of Christ. There is no salvation apart from Christ, apart from the death of Christ. God demands faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ for salvation, for entrance into heaven: “For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Any and all men are eligible for salvation. Any and all rational men can exercise “God-given” faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thereby receive from God His free gift, which is eternal life.
God has but one Church into which He baptizes believing sinners, and that Church is the “Bible” Church, a non-sectarian Church, called “the Body of Christ.” A group of church officials can receive a person into some sectarian religious organization or denominational church, and that person may, or may not, be saved; but even the superficial student of the Bible knows that God does not baptize any person into any sectarian organization. Joining such a religious organization neither assures the “joiner” of salvation from sin, nor guarantees him heaven. The Bible does not say, “if any man be in the Catholic Church, or in the Protestant Church, he is a new creation,” but, “if any man be in Christ Jesus.”
For the man in Christ Jesus, God has wonderful, blessed, glorious good news. Colossians 2:10: “And ye are complete in Him, Which is the Head of all principality and power.” Ephesians 1:6, 7, and 3: “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ.”
Stop! Consider! Meditate! Then praise the Lord! “Complete in Christ”—“Accepted in Christ”—“Redeemed and forgiven”—“Blessed with all spiritual blessings.”
Then note the blessed union and unity of all redeemed sinners:
“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one Body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” Romans 12:4 and 5.
Is it any wonder then we read in I Corinthians 12:25: “That there should be no schism (division) in the Body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” In this same Epistle Paul asks this question: “Is Christ divided?” I Corinthians 1:13.
ONE CHRIST-ONE BODY
How many Christs are there? One. This is stated in Ephesians 4:5: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Christ is a Man. How many bodies does a man have? One This is stated in Ephesians 4:4: “There is One Body and One Spirit, even as ye are called in One Hope of your calling.”
Every intelligent Christian, who studies the Bible, is fully aware of these plain, positive and pertinent statements. They know that there is one, and only one, true Bible Church for this age, and that there is one, and only one, baptism for this age. But at the same time they are aware of the fact that there are more than 300 sectarian churches and more than 30 different baptisms. They grieve over this divided unity, but confess that they are .powerless to remedy the situation; so they just look on helpless and hopeless waiting till the Lord comes to clear up the confusion.
When the one Body is complete and the Lord comes for His one Body, they will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3: 3 and 4. According to Ephesians 2:15— Ephesians 1:23—and Ephesians 4:13, Christ and His Body will be One New Man, the Perfect Man, the fulness of Christ. None of the sectarian names will have any place in heaven. There will be no Catholics, Protestants, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, as such, in heaven; only those who are new creatures in Christ Jesus: “That in the ages to come He might skew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:7.
Every gift of God to man, and for man, is for one specific, definite purpose in this age
“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying (building up) 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.
God is building saints (sinners saved by grace) into the Body of Christ, and then building them up in that Body; and every member of that Body is thus instructed in Ephesians 4:7: “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” This grace is given to members of the Body of Christ that they may obey Ephesians 4:3 to 6:
“Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one Body, and one Spirit, even as ye are 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.”
Most sectarian Christians make no attempt to obey the will of God expressed in these verses. Some sectarian Christians tell us they can be loyal sectarians, still have their different denominational creeds and programs, their different baptisms, and obey Ephesians 4:3 to 6. But they have not prayerfully studied the third and fourth chapters of Ephesians. The Divine Truth in these chapters is God’s death-blow to sectarianism and sectarian baptismal ceremonies. No man can be clever enough to wrest the meaning of Ephesians Three and Four to mean many sects and several baptisms, when God says positively and plainly “One Body” and “One Baptism.”
When the Lord Jesus was on earth He prayed so earnestly for the unity of His disciples:
“That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou host sent Me.”
The Epistle to the Ephesians contains a message of union and unity. Members of the one Body are one flesh with Christ. God is making One New Man. and God is building one Temple, which is being fitly framed together, “builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:21 and 22. The Body-members are to grow up into Christ in all things, which is the Head. Ephesians 4:15. The whole Body is fitly framed together, making increase of the Body unto its building up. Ephesians 4:16. Only one Head of the Bible Church. He is far above in the heavenlies. Ephesians 1:19 to 23.
Are Catholics, Protestants, Methodists, Baptists. Presbyterians and Lutherans fitly joined together, making increase of the Body unto its building up They are unfitly torn asunder and in competition making increase of their denominational membership. Note main Ephesians 4:12:
“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ.”
Building up of sectarianism is in opposition to God’s will expressed in Ephesians.
In all the Bibles used by all of these denominations, the truth of Ephesians 4:12 and 13 is clearly set forth, that the Lord is not building any denominational organizations, but one spiritual organism, the Body of Christ: and this will continue, not until the Church brings in the millennium, but
“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 4:13.
Members of Christ’s Body are exhorted, in Ephesians 4:1 and 2, to walk worthy of the calling wherewith they are called. They are instructed in I Corinthians 3:10 to take heed how they build together. They are told in I Timothy 3:15 and 16, how to behave in the House of God. They are instructed in II Timothy 2:19 to 21, how to be vessels of honor in God’s Great. House. Members of the Body are told, in II Timothy 2:15, that one of the requisites to be such a vessel, is to rightly divide the Word of Truth. In fact, a member of Christ’s Body will not, and cannot, obey any of these instructions unless he rightly divides the Word of Truth. This is the division that the Lord desires instead of the sectarian divisions which are wholly contrary to the will of God.
In Paul’s later ministry he was chosen to preach among the Gentiles the UNSEARCHABLE riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8) and to complete the Word of God with the UNSEARCHABLE riches of Christ, the Mystery. Colossians 1:25 and 26. For his obedience to the Lord for preaching this distinctive Divine (Pauline) message, Paul landed in jail. Ephesians 6:19 and 20—Colossians 4:3 and 4—II Timothy 2:8 and 9. For preaching the UNSEARCHABLE riches of Christ to Gentiles, Paul suffered as an evil doer unto bonds. II Timothy 2:8 and 9.
The Mystery had been God’s Secret before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 3:9. This glorious Truth was not made known to, or by, any servant of the Lord until revealed to, and through, Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. Romans 11:13, Romans 16:25 and 26. Therefore, the Holy Spirit called this different message “the UNSEARCHABLE (UNTRACEABLE) riches of Christ.” It was truth separate and distinct from any spiritual program concerning Christ and His people, revealed to Israel’s prophets and prophesied by any of them.
The member of the Body of Christ who does not recognize the difference between the prophesied and the unprophesied riches of Christ, and who fails to subject himself to this difference in creed and conduct., will be a workman that needeth to be ashamed. And most assuredly he will not obey Ephesians 3:9: “And to make all men see what is the dispensation of the Mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God.” Should not every Body-member obey this specific instruction? What are you doing about it?
The member of the Body of Christ who does not contend for the “ONE BODY,” the “ONE SPIRIT,” the “ONE HOPE.,” the “ONE LORD.” the “ONE FAITH,” the “ONE BAPTISM,” the “ONE GOD AND FATHER OF ALL,” of Ephesians 4:4 to 6, will certainly disobey Ephesians 4:3: “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Think of the responsibility of the spiritual leaders of God’s people! Think of those among these leaders who know this glorious Truth of the One Body and the One Baptism, but who, by their silence and compromise, for personal advantage, make no attempt to open their mouths boldly to preach the Mystery. Ephesians 6:19 and 20. They can read in their Bibles Paul’s words of Colossians 1:25 and 26. Some of them cowardly acquiesce to the attitude and action of the zealous denominationalists, or baptizers, who malign, abuse, disfellowship, ridicule, or boycott those who oppose their unscriptural sectarianism and their undispensational baptism theories.
The Unity that the Bible clearly teaches is, “there is ONE and only ONE BODY, ONE and only ONE BAPTISM.” Grace preachers are agreed that salvation is by grace, that no water ceremony is required for the believing sinner’s salvation and membership in the Body of Christ. But the persecuting baptizers, after acknowledging that a believing sinner can be joined to Christ in an inseparable and eternal union, and become a member of His Body without water, declare “you can’t join me without some kind of a water ceremony, sprinkling, pouring or immersing.” One by one they are being forced, by their own inconsistencies, to teach that the One Baptism of Ephesians 4:5, is water.
Then they are in a predicament, for if the One Baptism of Ephesians 4:5 is the act of a man, the very contest proves that the one baptism of Ephesians 4:5, makes the believer a member of the One Body of Ephesians 4:4. Therefore water baptism is required for salvation and Bodymembership; and therefore, salvation is by grace, plus a religious ceremony.
Every honest and intelligent student of the Scriptures knows that the baptism of Romans 6:3 and 4, Galatians 3:27, Colossians 2:12, and Ephesians 4:5, is as efficacious as the baptism of I Corinthians 12:13, and transforms the sinner. Therefore every such student, who is consistent, will either join with the Campbellites and Pentecostalists in “water regeneration,” or acknowledge that religious baptism ceased when God’s religious nation, Israel, was set aside.
THE HOUSE OF GOD
God’s building a house, a Temple Divine;
Not a temple of stone, nor an earthly shrine;
Not a building of brick, with steeple and dome,
But a spiritual House, called God’s Home.
The Body of Christ this House is named,
By the Spirit of God this House is framed:
A place on earth for God to dwell;
Christ gave to Paul this Truth to tell.
God’s purpose in grace, His eternal plan;
The fulness of Christ, called “the One New Man:”
The Mystery of God for centuries sealed,
Unknown, untold; but at last revealed.
Christ told it to Paul, unto Paul alone;
Now the Secret was his, to make it known.
In the heavens above, Christ has His seat;
There to remain ‘till His Body’s complete.
A structure of men, of women, yea, all
Who hear God’s voice and obey His call;
Called out by Him from the human race,
Chosen in Christ and redeemed by grace;
By faith alone in God’s holy Son,
Because of His work on Calvary done.
In the Saviour, Christ, they are creatures new,
Dead with Christ and buried too.
Risen with Him Who is far above;
Redeemed by His blood, God’s mercy and love;
Complete in Christ, God’s risen Son,
This company of saints, with Him, are one.
One Spirit, one flesh, saved and secure;
The foundation of God is standing sure;
Joined to Christ, Head over all,
The Mystery of God revealed to Paul.
This Secret Divine, this Truth profound,
Was told by Paul, the prisoner bound.
For telling this Truth the jail was his home,
But he continued to tell it from his cell in Rome.
“Pray,” wrote Paul, “yea, God implore
For an open mouth and an open door;
That this glorious Truth all men may see
This Secret of God revealed to me.”
The unity will come, ‘tis the Father’s plan
The Stature of Christ, the perfect Man;
The capstone of Truth, to complete God’s Word;
By saints today, is seldom heard.
As builders with God, by His wisdom and might
Let us study His Word and divide it aright;
As He completes His Church, His Temple Divine,
The House of God, your home and mine.
Let us join with Paul and earnestly pray
That the Father of glory in His own way,
May reveal to many His purpose and plan
The Head and the Body, One New Man.
Make all men see what God wants shown,
Many years ago to Paul made known,
The Secret of God, to gather in One
All things in Christ, His beloved Son.
Wonderful, marvelous, infinite grace, abounding more than sin;
When Christ at Calvary took our place, He was man; but God within.
The worldly rulers never knew God’s mystery revealed,
The Lord of glory there they slew, Him Whom God had sealed.
Rich was He in heaven above, in the form of God up there;
Bosomed in His Father’s love. He saw us in despair,
Ruined, hopeless, helpless, weak; like sheep all gone astray;
He will come the lost to seek, to put our sin away.
In tender mercy down He came; came to save the lost;
Creator here with human frame; see what sin has cost.
Not all the silver and the gold could for guilt atone;
No scheme of man that’s new or old; but Christ Himself alone.
Yes, lower than the angels made, made to suffer death;
All our sins on Him were laid, when He yielded up His breath,
Willing all our guilt to bear, to die for you and me;
“Finished” cried the Saviour there, nailed to Calvary’s tree.
Now what work must man supply beside what Christ hath done?
Our God will freely justify all who trust His Son,
This is grace, yes grace Divine, sufficient grace indeed;
Abounding grace that knows no line: for the vilest sinner’s need.
Every claim Christ satisfied to clear the human race;
Between two thieves He bled and died. O what matchless grace
Death with Him was but a spell; He took up the life He gave,
God did not leave His soul in hell, nor His body in the grave.
Death abolished, He has its key, and the key of hades too;
Such a Christ for you and me, a living Saviour true.
A risen Christ at God’s right hand, Whose love has never ceased;
All power known at His command, an interceding Priest.
In heaven, on His Father’s throne, that blessed throne of grace,
Pleading ever for His own, He’s never lost a case.
He’s never lost a single one, never failed to keep
All the Father gives the Son, that Shepherd of the sheep.
He seals them with the Holy Ghost, unto redemption day:
Saves them to the uttermost; Hear the Saviour pray,
My glory, Father, let them see; My glory let them share,
Where I am, pray, let them be; God has heard that prayer.
Grace is this, and nothing less; only grace can tell
Why a sinner God should bless, and save his soul from hell.
In Adam none will heaven reach, not a single man,
In Christ alone Who healed the breach, believing sinners can.
While with patience here below we run for Christ the race,
What a blessed fact to know, sufficient is His grace.
Here surrounded by our foes, with conflicts all around;
In the midst of all our woes He makes His grace abound.
If in fervent prayer we ask, we’ll never be denied;
For every trial, every task, grace shall be supplied.
Whatever sickness or distress, sorrow, wound, or ache.
When heavy burdens sorely press, from that supply we take.
Exceeding riches of His grace, in ages after this
When we’ve reached that heavenly place to enjoy eternal bliss.
God the Father then will show, in kindness through His Son,
There in glory we shall know, know every chosen one.
No matter what your temporal gain, if your soul you lose;
All this life will prove but vain, if Christ you do not choose.
This is still the day of grace, the door is open wide;
Faith will find for you a place, a place with Christ inside.
Answer then the Spirit, yes, as He convicts of sin,
Christ, as Saviour, then confess; and He will enter in.
Eternal life with Him above, victory here and peace;
Dwelling in eternal love, His grace shall never cease.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.