By Charles H. Welch
One. The unity ofthe Spirit, entrusted to the believer to "keep" is a sevenfold unity, which can be likened to the candlestick made for the tabernacle. It will be very evident to the reader, that unless we know what this unity of the Spirit comprises, we shaU not be able to keep it; consequently the Apostle proceeds to give the details of this blessed trust. There are six parts in this unity arranged in the structure in two groups on either side of the ascended Lord.
The arrangement may be presented to the eye in the farm of the six-branched lamp stand used of aId. We trust na reader will be misled, as one of our critics was, into believing that we teach that this unity of the Spirit was actually set"forth in the tabernacle of aId. How could it be set forth then if it was a mystery "hid in God"? While making this clear, we need not be robbed of any help that such an illustration may give. The central feature is the "One Lord". Without the ascended Christ there wou1d be na Head, and sa na Body; na Chief Corner Stone, and sa na Temple; na hope, na faith and na love. With the risen and ascended Lord we have bath hope and faith.
The hope is the "one hope of your calling". Hope and calling are inseparable; what our calling is here and now, our hope when realized, will be in the future. The prayer of Ephesians 1:18 has the knowledge of this hope as its central petition: "That ye may know what is the hope of His calling" .
Other callings have other phases of hope; among them "the hope of Israel", which covers the whole period of the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1:6 to 28:20). The Second Coming ofChrist as set forth in Matthew twenty-four, 1 Thessalonians four, 1 Corinthians fifteen and in the epistles of Peter, James, John and Jude presents phases and aspects of the hope that was entertained by bath believing Jews and Gentiles befare the revelation of the Mystery. While Christ and His glory are, and ever must be, at the centre of the hope of all His own, the hope of each calling will be related to its own sphere of blessing.
The bond of peace is specific. It definitely refers to Ephesians two. It is really "the bond of the peace", for the article is used, and so indicates that peace connected with "the creation of the two into one new man, so making peace" (Eph. 2:14,15). There we have the creation of the One Body, and this is the first item in the sevenfold unity of the Spirit. To attempt to introduce 1 Corinthians twelve in face of (I Cor. 13:10) ( "in part", (1 Cor. 13:10), and "in particular", (1 Cor. 12:27), are translations of the same word) is to introduce the passing and partial things of childhood into the experience of "the perfect man" (Eph. 4: 13). This "peace of God" is to act as "umpire" (not "rule", Col. 3:15), and is inseparable from the "calling" of the "One Body" as it is written:
To allow any tampering with the sevenfold unity of Ephesians four either to add to, to subtract from, or to agree to differ about its terms, is not allowing the peace of God to be umpire, but submitting to our own ideas of fellowship, and a compromising for the sake of usefulness, charity, etc. To deny the One Body, its one baptism and its one hope of glory, for the sake of "peace" is to decide against the "ruling" of this very peace of God, and shatters all semblance oftrue unity.
There are no more two baptisms or two hopes in this unity than there are or can be two Lords. To us has been committed a sacred trust, a "good deposit" (1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:12-14, 2:2). It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful- peaceable, useful, charitable by all means, so long as the first element of stewardship be untouched, but faithful he must be. Keeping the unity of the Spirit is an essential part of walking worthy of our calling (Eph. 4:1-6) and indeed is listed fust.
Let us not be tempted to "come down" from our glorious position (Neh. 6:2), but humbly, yet resolutely, set ourselves by the grace given us and by the power that worketh in us to "endeavour to keep as a sacred trust the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace". The unity of the Spirit, of Ephesians four, keeps it in the bond of peace already made. The going on to the perfect man of Ephesians four, is but the realization of the "one new man" of Ephesians two.