The Beliefs of Christian Unity

One. Paul repeats this adjective over and over in Ephesians 4:4-6.

Christians of all stripes are joined together as one body. As was mentioned last time in our discussion of the virtues of Christian unity, this is something that Christ brings about, through his death for us on the cross (Eph 2:14-16). Today, the focus shifts to what we believe as one body.

Trinity fellowship window

We are one body, no matter what our backgrounds.

One Spirit gives us life and makes us the holy temple where God dwells (see also Eph 2:20-22). We are more than a voluntary association of like-minded people. We are a dwelling of God, by the Spirit.

One hope keeps us waking up each day with a sense of purpose and confidence. We are part of a story that is heading somewhere.

One Lord is our master. Christians proclaim “Jesus is Lord,” declaring our allegiance to the King of Kings.

One faith is our experience (“it is by grace you have been saved, through faith” – Eph 2:8), a faith whose object is the King who died for us.

One baptism forges our identity. This baptism reminds us that we left our old lives behind and we now walk in the newness of life (see Rom 6). What matters most about us is that we are “in Christ,” or united in his death and resurrection.

One God and Father of all. He is a God to those who once were “without God in this world” (Eph 2:12), and He is our Father, who has adopted us and blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph 1:3).

God, the Father, Son, and Spirit. We are united in our worship.  True Christian ecumenism draws a line in the sand about God. From the earliest centuries of the church, Christians were stubborn about defending how God should be understood, talked about, and worshiped. The great creeds confess, “we believe in one God . . . be believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ . . . we believe in the Holy Spirit.” Christians said, “This is what we believe about Father, Son, and Spirit, this is what we don’t believe, and our view of God matters more than anything.”

Faith, baptism, hope. We are united in our experience. We have cast our lot with the Christian God, the Christian story. Our hearts have been converted, and our lives are being transformed. Leaving behind the old life, we walk towards the bright future that Christ has prepared for us.

One body. Being one body makes sense only in this context. Ecumenism is pursued not at the expense of truth, but guided and enriched by it. Next time we will see the results of unity that we as one body can anticipate.

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2 Comments

Filed under Biblical Theology, Church, New Testament

2 responses to “The Beliefs of Christian Unity

  1. If we would all focus on what we have in common as believers and don’t focus on the differences in the way we practice our faith we would be a stronger body of Christ.

  2. D L Timmerman

    Unity in the essentials. Liberty in the non-essentials. And in all things, love.

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