Terry R. Baughman
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were 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” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
Christ placed a premium on unity; so much so that He included it in His last prayer meeting in the garden before His arrest, trial, and death the following day. His prayer was that we might be one like He and the Father are one (John 17:11). Jesus intended that His followers become one body, the body of Christ, representing Him in this world after His departure. Paul wrote that “we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones” (Ephesians 5:30). Not only are we unified as members of His body but in a unique way we are also joined with Christ who is the head of the body (5:23). There should be constant care for other members of the body, “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (5:29).
Paul spoke of the unity of the body, “there is one body and one Spirit,” as he promoted the singular idea of being “called in one hope of your calling” (Ephesians 4:4). Our calling is not independent of the body, neither is it separated from the vision He has for the church at large. He implored believers to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, … bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3).
He speaks to us individually, but calls us into corporate spiritual unanimity, “For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). When God sees His church He is not seeing the fragmentation of ethnicity or distinction between the races or the sexes. He does not respect social economic disparity, rather He sees all as one body. Paul said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female” (Galatians 3:28).
God has given the gifts of ministry to edify the church, “till we all come to the unity of the faith,” that we, “may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ-- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share” (Ephesians 4:13, 15-16).
From its inception on the Day of Pentecost the church has been called to unity. As the believers lingered in the Upper Room waiting “for the promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4) they were found unified, “with one accord in one place,” when the Holy Spirit descended on them (Acts 2:1). With the sound of “a rushing mighty wind” “that filled the house” and the appearance of tongues of fire upon them they spoke with others tongues of ecstatic utterance (Acts 2:2-4).
The obedience and unity of the believers produced the first outpouring of Spirit power. The same experience comes again and again when we unite in declaring the holy purpose of God. We can be assured of the presence of God working with us to accomplish His work. “They went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs” (Mark 16:20).
“That they may be one as we are” (John 17:11).