one Lord, one faith, one baptism,Ephesians 4:5(NASB)
The first three chapters in the book of Ephesians, should fill our hearts with joy and cause us to break forth into songs of praise for they outline our divine election and our secure position in Christ, while the last three chapters give an overview of godly living and examine what should be our practice in the Lord.
It is here in the early verses of chapter 4, that Paul makes an appeal for Christian harmony and the fellowship of all believers, as well as outlining the primary elements of unity in the Sprit which underpins the Christian faith in this 'dispensation of the grace of God'.
In order to be worthy of our calling, we are to walk in humility of heart and gentleness of spirit, showing tolerance to one another and godly patience - as we walk in love, bear one another's burdens, and strive to preserve in the unity of the Spirit, in the bond of peace.
Paul goes on to list seven key elements of Christian unity in the verses 4 to 6, where we read "There is ONE body and ONE Spirit, just as also you were called in ONE hope of your calling; ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all."
This short section makes it very clear that there can be no compromise of our Christian faith with other religions... or a modification of the gospel to appease others... as certain people in the broad spectrum of Christendom teach today. The Bible clearly states that there is one Body of believers and one Holy Spirit of God Who indwells each one. Just as we have been saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, we have also been called into one hope of that calling - which is founded on the ONE Lord - Jesus Christ.
This particular verse reminds us there is ONE Lord... and this refers to the one Lord Jesus Christ, our God and our Saviour, for there is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved. Paul, in his epistle to the Romans, confirms this by referring to Christ as the head of the Church and stating, "For the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him, for whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved."
The ONE faith about which this verse is talking, is the Christian faith which includes the entire body of doctrine, which "was once delivered to the saints," by the apostles and prophets who penned the New Testament Scriptures.
There is also ONE baptism, and although many like to suggest that baptism in this verse refers to water baptism, it is the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the life of all who are born from above, about which he is speaking... for as Paul writes to the Corinthians: "We were all baptised by one Spirit, so as to form one body-whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free."
Water baptism is a beautiful outward sign of the spiritual baptism that takes place at the moment of salvation. The Church is the Body of Christ and by faith we are all baptised into that spiritual Body by the Spirit of God... the moment we are redeemed. As believers who were baptised into the Body of Christ by the Spirit at salvation, we are now to walk in spirit and truth and to be filled with the Spirit of God, day by day.
We glorify and praise the one and only God of heaven and earth - Father - Son - and Holy Spirit - Who alone is worthy of our worship, praise, and thanksgiving.
Heavenly Father, how I praise and thank You for Your amazing wisdom and grace. Thank You that I am part of that one Body... and that by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus, I was baptised by the Holy Spirit into His Body the moment I first believed. I pray that I may stand firm in the faith and trust Your Word which was given to us by inspiration of God through the pens of Your holy apostles and prophets. Keep me looking to Jesus - the Author and Finisher of that faith and in Whose name I pray, AMEN.
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