Friday, August 14, 2015

Keep the unity of the Spirit

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

We are told to "walk worthy" of the vocation that we are called by (vocation=calling). 2 Timothy 1:9-11 tells us "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles."

Our calling is holy but yet it is not according to our religious works. Religious works have no part in our calling, we were called to the fellowship of Jesus Christ, not a religion (Rom. 1:6, 8:28, 1 Cor. 1:9). What we have been called into is the GRACE of Christ into His Body by the Gospel...not according to our works.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

How do we walk worthy of our holy calling? By keeping the unity of the Holy Ghost.

Ephesians 4:
[1] I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
[2] With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
[3] Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
[4] There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
[5] One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
[6] One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all

"There is one body": Obviously there are many physical and spiritual bodies in existence (1 Cor. 15:44), but the context of Ephesians 4:4 is the Church which is the Body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23, 3:6, 5:22-32). There is not more than one Body of Christ.

"There is one Spirit": Capital 'S', Holy Spirit. There is not more than one REAL Holy Spirit.

"There is one hope of your calling": The one hope of our calling is the blessed hope of the catching away of believers to be with the Lord (Titus 2:13, Phil. 3:20-21, 1 Cor. 15:51-58, 1 Thes. 1:10, 4:13-18, 5:9).

"There is one Lord": Capital "L", the Lord Jesus Christ. There is only one REAL Lord, but there are fake ones (2 Cor. 11:3-4).

"There is one faith": This is a somewhat difficult statement to understand, saying as there is our faith in Christ (Eph. 2:8) and the faith of Christ (Gal. 2:16-20, 3:22, etc.). We are justified by the faith of Christ (His completed obedience to the word of God and fulfilling of all righteousness) but we do not receive that justification until we put our own personal faith in Him (Acts 16:31, Phil. 3:9). Then there is also another kind of faith that has a completely different meaning, that has no reference to our personal belief or Christ's faithfulness. It is "the faithful word", the Christian faith (Titus 1:9, Acts 14:22, 16:5, 1 Cor. 16:13, etc.). The Christian faith is what is being referred to in Ephesians 4:5 (see Eph. 4:13), else there would be a contradiction in scripture. There is truly only ONE faith in this sense of the word, but there are many false faiths such as that of the Catholics, Mormons, Campbellites, etc.....there is only one real faith.

"There is one baptism": There is only one real baptism, the baptism into Jesus Christ by God the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:3-4, Gal. 3:26-28, 1 Cor. 12:12-18, Col. 2:10-13). This baptism joins believers to Christ making them members of His body, crucified/buried/risen/seated with Him (Eph. 2:6, 1 Cor. 6:15-17).

"There is one God and Father": Clearly referring to God the Father.

We walk worthy of our holy calling by keeping this unity of the Holy Spirit.

Paul shows us the proper way to "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace". Here is an example of him doing it....

1 Corinthians 8:
[4] As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.
[5] For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
[6] But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him

Paul knew that there were many fake gods and lords, they were "called" gods but they were not real. To us there is only one God and one Lord. Likewise there are many false faiths, false hopes, and false baptisms that are outside of our calling and the unity of the Spirit. We should keep the unity of the Spirit, our calling, and not add to it or change it. The Roman Catholics have added lords/gods, the Campbellites and Baptists have added more baptisms, but we must simply "keep the unity of the Spirit" as it is.

--Eli Caldwell   

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