Unity of the Spirit

By Charles H. Welch

The Unity of the Spirit. In the preceding article, we have considered the subject of ‘Unity’, in the present one we concentrate upon ‘The Unity of the Spirit’. As this Alphabetical Analysis is a book of reference, some element of repetition is necessary for the sake of completeness. The seriousness of the subject however is an all -sufficient justification for such treatment. There are two injunctions in the epistles of the present dispensation that at first sight seem to have little connection, yet upon consideration are seen to be inseparable, and indeed but two sides of one whole. ‘Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth’ (2 Tim. 2:15). ‘I ... beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called ... endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’ (Eph. 4:1 -3). The first link that binds these two precepts together is the word translated ‘study’ and ‘endeavour’, for both represent the one word spoudazo in the Greek. This word is derived from speudo which means to urge on, to hasten. Upon examination, it will be discovered that mere ‘hastiness’ is by no means implied, but that some driving urge is at work impelling action and movement. What a contrast is established in Scripture between the Chief Priests and Scribes, who could glibly quote chapter and verse to show that Christ should be born in Bethlehem, and yet who never went either to see or to worship (Matt. 2:4 -6); and the shepherds who said: ‘Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste’ (Luke 2:15). ‘They came with haste’ indicates not merely speed but diligence, an urge that surmounts obstacles, a movement with a goal in view. The same word that is translated ‘study’ in 2 Timothy 2:15, is translated ‘Do thy diligence’ in 2 Timothy 4:9 and 21. In one case it is followed by the word ‘shortly’ in the other by the words ‘before winter’, in both there is the feeling of urgency. The apostle commended Onesiphorus in his service to himself, and as a proof that Onesiphorus had not been ashamed of his chain he added: ‘But when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me’ (2 Tim. 1:17). Spoude is translated ‘business’ in Romans 12:11, and there, the words ‘not slothful’ are added, emphasizing the urgency that resides in the very word itself, for our English word is of course ‘busy-ness’ and retains the ideas of urgency, haste and earnest endeavour. In both 2 Timothy 2:15 and Ephesians 4:3 we have something that demands of us our full attention and earnest endeavour, in fact, calls upon us to ‘make it our business’. The next link that binds these two passages together is that which at first appears to keep them apart. The one passage says ‘make it your business to Divide’ while the other says ‘make it your business to Unite’. These two principles, so apparently contrary, are but two sides of one whole, as will immediately be seen. Suppose we seek to unite all who hold a common creed, or all who were born in a certain town, or all who are of a certain stature, would not the very act of uniting them together, be the obverse of dividing them from those who held a different creed, or were born elsewhere, or who were taller or shorter? It is quite impossible to keep the Unity of the Spirit, of Ephesians 4 unless we put into practice the dividing of 2 Timothy 2:15. The very segregation of Ephesians 4 is an act that supposes that there are other companies. If ‘uniting’ is impossible without ‘dividing’ how necessary it must be that the dividing be ‘right’, and the uniting be of ‘the Spirit’, and how fitting it appears that both injunctions open with the same words ‘make it your business’ or as rendered in the A.V. ‘study’ and ‘endeavouring’. The verses under consideration in Ephesians 4 are an integral part of the epistle and it is most essential that they be kept in their place. We have elsewhere shown that there are seven items of doctrine balanced by seven corresponding items of practice in this epistle, and it would be strange indeed if the very first item of practice that is enjoined upon members of this high calling, should, in reality, have nothing particularly to do with it. Yet strange as it may appear, this attitude was actually taken by the editor of a magazine dealing with the Mystery, and it seems incumbent upon the apostle, if such had been the case, to have prefaced his exhortation by an explanatory note to the effect that these seven items did not actually belong to the Mystery at all! There is not the slightest indication of such a note in the passage, and we believe most readers will realize that when the prisoner of the Lord exhorts his readers to walk worthy of the calling wherewith they have been called, he will not, without warning, revert back to 1 Corinthians 12. The testimony of the Lord’s prisoner in Ephesians 3 is most certainly related to the dispensation of the Mystery. The corresponding testimony of the same prisoner in Ephesians 4 is as surely related to that selfsame revelation, and the first step in the walk that is worthy of this high calling is the endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The ‘peace’ that binds this unity together is found in Ephesians 2:14. The ‘One Spirit’ is found in Ephesians 2:18. The ‘One Body’, the ‘One God and Father’ likewise are found in Ephesians 2:16 -18. Instead of Ephesians 4:3 -6 referring back to 1 Corinthians 12 or to any other company, it is the business of every member of the Body of Christ to keep the unity already made in the creating of the one New Man. We have had correspondence with quite a number of believers who have been distracted by a teaching that lifts Ephesians 4:3 -6 out of its context and applies it to 1 Corinthians 12 and other passages outside the Mystery. Most have expressed the truth when they have said: ‘We cannot see why Paul, as the prisoner of the Lord, should exhort believers who are blessed under the terms of the Mystery, to walk in harmony with some other calling. How can we walk worthy of the calling wherewith we are called, by endeavouring to keep some other unity belonging to a period when the hope before the church was the hope of Israel? Is the "one hope of your calling" not identical or at least parallel with "the hope of His calling"?’ (Eph. 1:18). We believe that the answer to these questions is self -evident. It is mischievous and absurd to try to introduce into the practical outworking of the new revelation of the Mystery, doctrines and practices that belong to other spheres. We come back therefore to our opening thought. It is not possible to ‘unite’ without ‘dividing’, and unless we ‘rightly divide the Word of truth’ and keep the revelation of the Mystery clear and distinct, we shall not walk worthy of our calling, neither shall we keep the Unity of the Spirit, nor entertain without distraction ‘the one hope of our calling’. One Body We have seen that the ‘endeavour’ to keep the Unity of the Spirit and the ‘study’ to divide the Word of Truth aright are intimately connected. The application of the principle of ‘right division’ leads to a recognition of dispensational truth, and leads us to see that in the epistle to the Ephesians, we have the revelation of a calling so new that it had never been mentioned even in Scripture until it was revealed to the apostle Paul as the prisoner of Jesus Christ for us Gentiles. The great doctrine of the Mystery is given in the sevenfold revelation which occupies the first three chapters of Ephesians. The corresponding practical section is given in the sevenfold revelation of practical outworking that occupies the last three chapters. Every section in the doctrinal portion has its counterpart in the practical section. No item is without its mate, and Ephesians 4:1 -6 introduced by ‘the prisoner of the Lord’, balances Ephesians 3:1 -13 introduced by ‘the prisoner of Jesus Christ’. Ephesians 3:1 -13 is concerned with the revelation of the Mystery, Ephesians 4:1 -6 with its manifestation in practice. The harmony of the parts of the epistle is complete, the balance and structure self -evident, and we are therefore under no necessity to discuss any further the strange idea held by some that the first item of practice in Ephesians 4 belongs to another calling and a different dispensation. Nothing short of a statement inserted by Paul himself would warrant such a dislocation of the epistle. The Unity of the Spirit is sevenfold and is most easily represented by a lampstand. This is an illustration simply, and does not mean that the Mystery in any sense is typified by the Tabernacle. The central item in this unity is the ‘One Lord’ and on either side are ranged the One Body, the One Spirit, the One Hope, the One Faith and the One God and Father. It is our privilege and our responsibility to ‘keep’ this unity inviolate, allowing neither addition nor subtraction nor alteration in any particular. The keeping of this unity is the first specified practical outworking of the truth of the Mystery, and consequently it is most important that we should understand what is involved. The first item in this unity is ‘the One Body’. This is the figure used by the Lord to set forth the new standing and constitution of the Church under the dispensation of the Mystery. There are two references to the ‘Body’ in the doctrinal section and six references in the practical section. The first reference is very comprehensive and is found at the close of Ephesians 1. There, after having spoken of the ascension of Christ ‘Far above all principality’ in heavenly places, the apostle says: ‘And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all’ (Eph. 1:22,23). There is a progression in the revelation of the mystery of Christ as Paul acknowledges in Ephesians 3:4,5, and there is certainly a fulness in the revelation of Ephesians 1:22,23 that justifies the apostle’s claim to a clearer revelation than had been given to the sons of men in former days. David is among the first to speak of this glory of the Lord saying: ‘For Thou hast made Him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned Him with glory and honour. Thou madest Him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under His feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas’ (Psa. 8:5 -8). In this prophetic Psalm, David looks forward to the day when the ‘dominion’ lost by Adam (Gen. 1:28) shall be restored by the Lord Jesus Christ. The next reference is found in Hebrews 2:5: ‘For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak’. Then follows a quotation from Psalm 8, and a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ as the Captain of Salvation. Here we have an advance on the eighth Psalm. The ‘habitable world to come’ is a reference to the dominion ruled over by Nebuchadnezzar and shown to the Lord from the mountain of temptation, for a peculiar word is used in these passages. There is a higher fulfilment of David’s words however than is given to them in Hebrews. In 1 Corinthians 15:24 -28 not merely ‘sheep and oxen’ or ‘the habitable world to come’, but the world of spiritual powers, even the last enemy death itself is put under His feet, with the goal in view ‘that God may be all in all’. In the epistle to the Ephesians this revelation reaches its zenith. The glory that David sensed as being ‘above the heavens’, without realizing what the fact involved, Paul declares to be the glory of the ascended Lord Who is now seated at the right hand of God, far above all principalities and far above all heavens (Eph. 1:21; 4:10), given to be Head over all things to the church and filling all in all, an anticipation of ‘God all in all’ that is yet to be. The apostle differentiates the ‘all things’ that are under the Lord’s feet panta, and over which He has been given as Head to the Church, from ‘the all things’, i.e. the specific and known goal of redemptive and elective purpose which He fills, ta panta. The Unity of the Spirit, in placing ‘the One Body’ first, commits all the precious teaching that is implied in Ephesians 1:22,23 to our trust. The second reference to the ‘Body’ is found in Ephesians 2:16. For some time we have hesitated as to whether this is a reference to the Church or to the ‘body of His flesh’ as the parallel in Colossians 1:21,22 suggests. The context, with its emphasis upon the creation of the ‘one new man’, ‘the both’ ‘the twain’, the breaking down of the ‘middle wall’ and the abolition of the enmity that existed in the decrees imposed in Acts 15, all points to a dual reference. It was in His own body that the enmity was slain, it was in His own body that reconciliation was effected (Col. 1:21,22) but that reconciliation brought about a new relationship between the two parties in the church, and so the words ‘reconciled to God in one body’ must speak of the church as well as of the Lord. This intimate association of the church with the Lord is very precious, and this too we are called upon to ‘keep’. These two references complete all that is said of the Body in Ephesians 1 to 3, the first passage speaks of the church as ‘His body’, the second speaks of it as being reconciled in ‘One body’ and both titles apply to one company. (See Col. 1:24 and 3:15). The practical section of Ephesians contains six references to the church which is His Body, and one reference to a man’s own body, used in illustration. This makes seven references in all. ‘(He ... ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) and He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in (unto R.V.) the unity of the faith ... the fulness of Christ’ (Eph. 4:10 -13). The reader will see that this passage is the practical complement of Ephesians 1:22,23. ‘Far above all principality’ is now repeated in another form ‘Far above all heavens’. The filling of ‘all in all’ is shown to have a definite relation to the Church, by the next statement in Ephesians 4:10 ‘that He might fill all things’ ta panta, and the further statement that the goal before the new ministry was ‘the fulness of Christ’ (Eph. 4:13). The apostles mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 must be a different company from ‘the twelve’ as Matthew 10 will make clear. They have a specific ministry namely ‘perfecting the saints’ which means ‘re -adjusting after a rupture’ -- a fitting term to explain the new work to be done after the setting aside of Israel at Acts 28; and ‘the building up of the Body of Christ’, which Body was the subject of the new revelation. Later, when the unity of the faith had been attained and apostles’ and prophets’ foundation work accomplished (Eph. 2:20), the increase of the Body and its building up was carried on by living union with the Head and between every member, ‘maketh increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love’ (Eph. 4:16). An examination of Ephesians 5 will show that the endeavour to keep the Unity of the Spirit and especially the first item ‘One Body’ is not to be looked upon as a ‘spiritual’ exercise divorced from the daily round, but enters into the home life of believers and the relationship of husband and wife. There in the home, they may help to keep this unity and set forth the union of Christ and His Church. The more we understand these seven items of unity, the more we shall be able to keep the trust. To appreciate the ‘Body’ we must study the Scriptures that speak also of ‘the Head’ and of ‘the members’. We must ponder the great warning of Colossians 2 and acquaint ourselves with all that divides and spoils this unity. The reader who contemplates so doing will not be likely to call in question the translation suggested earlier, ‘endeavour, or make it your business’, for the keeping of this unity will colour every department of life and activity and nothing that we do or omit in the affairs of every day can be considered unimportant. The Unity of the Spirit is bound up with the Unity of the Faith, the Unity of the Body and the life of every member. One Spirit We read in James 2:26, that the body without the spirit is dead, and so, it is very right that immediately following the One Body in the Unity of the Spirit comes the One Spirit (Eph. 4:3,4). With one exception every reference to pneuma ‘spirit’ in Ephesians refers either to the Person or the work of the Holy Spirit of God. The one exception being found in Ephesians 2:2: ‘Wherein in time past ye walked according ... to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience’. The Revised Version and all the critical texts read ‘the fruit of the light’ in Ephesians 5:9 instead of ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ as in the A.V. We must, therefore, exclude that reference from our list. This leaves us with fourteen occurrences of the word pneuma ‘spirit’ which is distributed through the epistle as follows: Pneuma in Ephesians (14 occurrences) A 1:13. Sealed. The Holy Spirit of promise. Redemption. B a 1:17 -19. Spirit of wisdom. Energizeth. b 2:2,3. Spirit that now energizeth. The Mind. Once. C 2:18. One Spirit. The both. Access. D c 2:22. Habitation of God. Katoiketerion d 3:5,6. Threefold Unity. c 3:16,17. Dwelling place for Christ. Katoikesai d 4:3. Sevenfold Unity. C 4:4. One Spirit. The Unity. B 4:22,23. Spirit of mind renewed. Former. A 4:30. Sealed.The Holy Spirit of God. Redemption. D e 5:18,19. Psalms, Hymns, Songs. f 6:17. The Word of God. e 6:18. Prayer and Supplications. In addition to the above, we find in the same epistle three occurrences of pneumatikos ‘spiritual’ as follows: Pneumatikos in Ephesians (3 occ.) Ephesians 1:3. Spiritual blessings in heavenly places. 5:19. Spiritual songs, melody in the heart. 6:12. Spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. It will not be possible to study each one of these seventeen references very closely, although it must be recognized that we cannot ‘keep’ a unity unless we are acquainted with its essential features. We can just point the way in these pages and hope that each reader will take the matter further. We have given prominence in the structure to the two great subjects that repeat themselves, namely ‘The Sealing of the Spirit’ and the ‘One Spirit’. Let us look at these, but let us give heed in the first place to the one mention of ‘One Spirit’. In Ephesians 2:18 we read: ‘For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father’. There is a most evident parallel here with the passage containing the one other occurrence of ‘One Spirit’. First, as in the sevenfold unity of Ephesians 4, the ‘One Spirit’ is closely connected with the ‘One Body’. ‘And that He might reconcile the both unto God in one body by the cross ... For through Him we, the both, have access in (same as "in One Body") One Spirit unto the Father’ (2:16 -18). Further, in the sevenfold Unity of the Spirit we have ‘One God and Father’, here in Ephesians 2:16-18, the titles are distributed. ‘In One Body reconciled to God’. ‘In one spirit access to the Father’. Again, this Unity of the Spirit, is kept ‘in the bond of peace’. Literally, the passage reads ‘in the bond of the peace’ and one naturally asks ‘what peace?’ The answer is supplied from Ephesians 2:14 -15. ‘He is our peace, Who hath made the both one ... to create in Himself of the twain one new man, so making peace’ (Eph. 2:14,15.) When we ‘endeavour to keep’ the truth concerning the One Spirit in this sevenfold unity, it is assumed that Ephesians 2:11 -19 is understood and appreciated. The dispensational disability of being a Gentile has been removed by the blood of Christ, the far off have been made nigh. The middle wall, that is the enmity caused by the decrees of Acts 15 which differentiated the Gentile believer from his Jewish brethren, has been abolished and the two great items ‘One Body’ and ‘One Spirit’ are the two great expressions of the newly created ‘One New Man’ of Ephesians 2:15. Instead, therefore, of allowing anyone on any pretext to explain away the ‘One Body’ or the ‘One Spirit’ as though they had no real place in the Mystery, we discover that they are near the very heart of the truth for the present dispensation. The two references to the sealing of the Spirit speak for themselves, the first reference announces a most blessed fact, and reveals the necessity for ‘keeping’ the ‘One Spirit’ in much the same way as we would keep the ‘earnest’ or ‘title deeds’ of an earthly inheritance or possession. The second reference to the sealing of the Spirit deals with our practical response to such high privileges. It is important to remember that while the word lupeo translated here ‘grieve’ (Eph. 4:30), occurs some twenty-six times, and lupe ‘grief’ or ‘sorrow’ some sixteen times, in every occurrence the grief or sorrow manifested or endured is that of persons, and the same must be true here in Ephesians 4:30. The Holy Spirit of God that can be ‘grieved’ must be a Person. Coming to the pair of references Ephesians 1:17 and 2:2,3, we shall find food for serious thought as we perceive the contrast between that spirit of wisdom and revelation which leads on to the knowledge of that mighty power that ‘worketh in’ the believer, and that spirit which ‘worketh in the sons of disobedience’. The recognition that there are ‘two’ spirits at work in the world today, compels the intelligent child of God first of all to distinguish between them, and secondly to ‘endeavour to keep ... One Spirit’, the Spirit that worketh in the sons of faith. We now come to the four central references. Of these, 2:22 and 3:16,17 are most evidently linked together. In 2:22 the church is said to be a habitation, katoiketerion, of God in Spirit. For this cause Paul prays that the believer may be strengthened by the Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell, katoikesai, in their hearts by faith. Ephesians 3:2 -13 is a large parenthesis, and the prayer of Ephesians 3:14 -21 is a direct outcome of the temple position revealed in Ephesians 2:22. ‘For this cause, I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles ... For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father’ (Eph. 3:1 and 14). The other pair of references, 3:5,6 and 4:3 are linked together by a most wonderful unity. This unity is expressed in 3:6 by a threefold use of sun ‘together with’. ‘That the Gentiles should be joint heirs sunkleronoma and a joint body sussoma and joint partakers summetocha of the promise in Christ Jesus’. This precious unity, the distinctive feature of the Mystery, is balanced in the structure by the Unity of the Spirit which we are enjoined to keep. What does the reader think of that system of teaching that would deprive the member of the Body of Christ of this priceless guarantee? We cannot pursue the examination of every reference, and with the exception of perhaps one, namely Ephesians 5:18, no difficulty will be presented to the reader. It may be that some will value a little help on the phrase ‘be filled with the Spirit’, and avoiding all references to Greek Grammar, which, if understood by the reader, would render our explanation unnecessary, we just explain for the sake of those who are unable to consult the original, that it is not the teaching of Ephesians 5:18 that the ‘Spirit’ enters into the believer, but that the Spirit is the One that fills the believer with something else. Other Scriptures suggest that He takes of the things of Christ for this filling. The parallel passage in Colossians 3:16, which repeats the consequential ‘psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs’, uses the words ‘Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly’ in place of ‘be filled with the Spirit’, and is the best comment on the passage. The Spirit evidently fills the believer ‘with the word of Christ’. The three ‘spiritual’ things referred to in Ephesians speak for themselves. The fact that ‘wickednesses’ can be ‘spiritual’ teaches us that the word ‘spiritual’ when speaking of our blessings, indicates that ‘flesh and blood’ and ‘temporal’ blessings are contrasted. With these seventeen references to pneuma and pneumatikos to guide him, the reader is independent of human opinion and will be enabled to keep with intelligence and some measure of appreciation this second member of the Unity of the Spirit. One Hope We have examined the first two items of the sevenfold Unity of the Spirit and have seen that the Church of the dispensation of the Mystery is ‘the Body of Christ’, and that the seal and earnest of the Spirit with His enlightening and renewing powers is closely associated with the One Body, even as we read in other connections, that the body without the spirit is dead, being alone. The next item to demand attention is that of the hope of this company. It is noticeable that whereas the items ‘One Body’ and ‘One Spirit’ are stated without qualification, the next item ‘One Hope’ is not so left without a qualification. It is not hope before the believer generally, which might be stated in terms broad enough to include the expectation of every redeemed child of God under whatever dispensation he may have been blessed; the hope that forms a part of the Unity of the Spirit is ‘One Hope’ as distinct from the hope of other companies of the saved, and so is further qualified by the words: ‘Even as ye are called in one hope of your calling’ (Eph. 4:4). Everything has been done in the phrasing of this passage to link it with what has gone before in this unity, ‘even as’, and to separate it from the phases of hope that pertain to other callings. The word kathos indicates that some comparison is in mind. We find it in Ephesians 1, where the ‘spiritual blessings in heavenly places’ of verse 3, are said to be ‘according as He hath chosen us’ in verse 4. So, in the passage before us, we must supply the word ‘call’ and read Ephesians 4:4 as though it actually said: ‘Ye are called in One Body, and ye are called in One Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling’. The calling governs the whole of the practical section, for it is opened with an exhortation to ‘walk worthy of the calling wherewith ye are called’ and it is surely blindness not to see in verse 4 a resumption of the same theme. In Ephesians 1:18, the first of a threefold prayer, is ‘that ye may know what is the hope of His calling’. It is beyond controversy that in this prayer the apostle has no other calling or dispensation in mind than that of the Mystery. When he next uses the expression it is to exhort the believer to walk worthy of this same calling, and then in the definition of the Unity of the Spirit he places this ‘one hope of your calling’. It is most reasonable that if God has several spheres of blessing, such as earth, heavenly Jerusalem and far above all principality and power, those whose calling associates them with either the earth or the heavenly city, shall entertain a different phase of the Second Coming of Christ, than those whose sphere of blessing is in heavenly places. Paul has no intention of obliterating these distinctions by using the word ‘One’ in connection with the hope. He does not say ‘there is but one hope for all whatever their different callings may be’ -- on the contrary he says in effect ‘while each calling has its blessed hope, and each hope must centre in Christ Himself, yet in exhorting the church of the Mystery to keep the Unity of the Spirit, I insist upon the one hope of their calling, as it is disastrous to introduce the hope of other callings into the dispensation of the Mystery’. All that Paul had hitherto taught concerning the Second Coming of Christ will be surely fulfilled, even though consequent upon the failure of Israel and the introduction of the Mystery, many new things have been revealed and other phases of hope anticipated. It is sometimes helpful in the endeavour to discern things that differ, to use the process of elimination. By this process we can set aside whatever does not belong to the one hope of our calling. The hope of Matthew 24 with the sign of the Son of Man after the great tribulation and after the setting up of the abomination of desolation, is so evidently associated with Israel and the kingdom, that we have no need to enter into details. That phase of the Second Coming is not the hope of the Mystery. Passing to the Acts of the Apostles we discover that at the beginning (Acts 1:6), at the end (Acts 28:20), and at intervals through the record (Acts 3:19 -26; 26:6,7), the ‘one hope’ is the hope of Israel. This cannot be the hope of the Mystery. If we read the epistles of the same period we find that 1 Thessalonians 4 associates the hope of that church with the Archangel, and as the Archangel is Michael (Jude 9) and stands for the children of Israel (Dan. 10:21; 12:1) we must not include 1 Thessalonians 4 in the Unity of the Spirit. A reference to 2 Thessalonians 2, written to the same church about the very subject of their hope, will show that it is connected with the rise of the man of sin, and so separated from the dispensation of the Mystery. Romans 15:12,13 declares that the hope before the church in the Acts was the rising of the root of Jesse to reign over the Gentiles, a phase of hope quite foreign to the dispensation of the Mystery. By the same token the teaching of Peter, James and John and the book of the Revelation must be eliminated, as the ‘calling’ of these epistles is most definitely not that of the dispensation of the Mystery. Throughout the course of this investigation, one word has been in constant use in the Scriptures quoted, the word parousia, translated ‘coming’ 22 times and ‘presence’ twice. This word parousia is found in Matthew 24:3,27,37,39; 1 Thessalonians 4:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; James 5:7; 2 Peter 1:16; and 1 John 2:28. We are struck with the fact that while this one word is used in Gospels and Epistles both of the Circumcision and of the Uncircumcision, it is never used in the epistles of Paul written after Acts 28 with reference to the hope. If our profession of faith in the verbal inspiration of Scripture be anything more than ‘profession’ we shall see to it that we do not use this word for the hope of the Body of Christ, and in keeping the sacred trust of the Unity of the Spirit, we shall strenuously resist any attempt to introduce that phase of hope where it has no rightful place. If parousia is never used, some word must take its place, and this we find to be the case. In Colossians 3 we have the word phaneroo ‘to manifest’ or ‘to appear’. ‘When Christ, Who is our life, shall be made manifest, then shall ye also be made manifest with Him in glory’ (Col. 3:4). The word phaneroo is not limited to the hope of the Mystery, for whenever and wherever the Lord ‘comes’ or ‘is present’ there will be an ‘appearing’. The two expressions come together in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 where we have ‘the brightness of His coming’ the epiphaneia of His parousia. As this is an exceptional manifestation of power and glory put forth at the destruction of the Wicked one, no believer is likely to wish to intrude there. This, however, is the only occurrence of epiphaneia, or epiphaino in any epistle except those written by Paul after Acts 28. The occurrences of epiphaneia are as follows: ‘The appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Tim. 6:14). ‘The appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ’ (2 Tim. 1:10). ‘Who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing’ (2 Tim. 4:1). ‘A crown ... to all them ... that love His appearing’ (2 Tim. 4:8). ‘Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (appearing of the glory) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ’ (Titus 2:13). It is fitting that the hope of the church whose sphere of blessing is in ‘heavenly places’ epouraniois ‘far above all’ huperano, should also use the word epi ‘upon’ in the word that speaks of its hope. It is an axiom that ‘faith is the substance of things hoped for’, which is but another way of saying that when hope is realized it will be the entering into that which has already been anticipated and enjoyed by faith. By faith and potentially, the church of the One Body is already seated in the heavenlies; it would not be a realization of this faith to find itself in the New Jerusalem or at the marriage supper of the Lamb, or in the Paradise of God. If hope is not to be ashamed, or make the believer ashamed, the church of the Mystery must find itself in glory at the right hand of God far above all principalities and powers, and if so, no phase of hope expressed in any other Scripture will satisfy the necessities of the case. As we ponder the wording of this third item of the Unity of the Spirit we feel inclined to say ‘O the depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God!’ For He has safeguarded the blessed hope of this dispensation by placing it in between the words ‘Even as’ which links it to the One Body and the One Spirit already announced, and the ‘calling wherewith we have been called’ on the other. This ‘calling’ looks back ‘before age times’ (2 Tim. 1:9), is associated with ‘one Body’ (Col. 3:15); is a ‘high calling’ (Phil. 3:14), and the hope of such calling must correspond. It, too, must be associated with that phase of the Lord’s coming that is linked with ‘heavenly places’ and with that part of God’s purpose that goes back ‘before the overthrow of the world’. Believers of other callings will meet the Bridegroom and go in with Him to the wedding feast. Some of other callings will see Him descend upon the Mount of Olives. Others will meet Him in the air, and some, the members of the One Body, will ‘be manifested with Him In Glory’. This manifestation must take place before the descent to the air or to the earth. They whose blessed hope this is, are said to be in a state of ‘prior hope’ proelpizo (Eph. 1:12). First in time of realization, as first in dignity because far above all, this ‘One Hope’ of our calling is a sacred trust which we should ‘make it our business’ to keep, to hold, to love and to look for. One Lord We now arrive at the central feature of the sevenfold Unity of the Spirit, ‘One Lord’. Just as the six branches of the candlestick were held together by the central shaft, so the Unity of the Spirit is held together, not by faith or hope or baptism or membership of the One Body or of the family of faith, but because of all that is involved in the title ‘One Lord’. We remember that when the apostle refers to himself as ‘the prisoner’ in the doctrinal section of Ephesians, he calls himself ‘the prisoner of Jesus Christ’ (or Christ Jesus R.V.) (Eph. 3:1), but when he next refers to himself as ‘the prisoner’ it is at the opening of the practical section (Eph. 4:1) where he speaks of himself as ‘The prisoner in the Lord’. That this is by no means fanciful or accidental let the distribution of the title ‘Lord’ in Ephesians speak for itself. One occurrence in the doctrinal section (Eph. 2:21). Fifteen occurrences in the practical section (Eph. 4:1,5,17; 5:8,10,17,19,22; 6:1,4,7,8,9,10,21). The reader is warned against the blind use of a concordance in aiming at this conclusion or in checking off the references. The R.V. omits Ephesians 5:29 and reads ‘Christ’ instead, with the best texts; while Ephesians 6:9 is translated ‘Master’ and so does not appear as ‘Lord’ in an English concordance. To those who give any weight to Bible numerics, the number of occurrences of Kurios ‘Lord’ in Ephesians is interesting. It is sixteen, and any multiple of eight suggests Lordship or dominion. The Greek word Kurios has the numerical value of 800, as may be seen thus: K = 20, U = 400, R = 100, I = 10, O = 70, S = 200. We find the same number of occurrences of Kurios, namely sixteen, in 2 Timothy. (Remember to include 2:19 and 4:22 with the R.V.). When, therefore, we are enjoined to keep the Unity of the Spirit and to remember that there is ‘One Lord’, the truth to be guarded is not so much His character as Saviour, but His character as Head. As it is essential that the Headship of Christ be held in mind when we confess Him Lord, let us acquaint ourselves with this title in the epistles of the Mystery: ‘And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is His Body’ (Eph. 1:22,23). ‘May grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: from Whom the whole Body ... maketh increase ...’ (Eph. 4:15,16). ‘Christ is the Head of the church’ (Eph. 5:23). ‘He is the Head of the Body, the church ... that in all things He might have the pre -eminence’ (Col. 1:18). ‘Ye are complete in Him, which is the Head of all principality and power’ (Col. 2:10). ‘Let no man beguile you ... not holding the Head’ (Col. 2:18,19). A further confirmation of the intimate connection between the Headship and the Lordship of Christ, is seen by comparing Ephesians 1:10 with Philippians 2:9 -11. ‘With a view to a dispensation of the fulness of seasons that He might head up (anakephalaioo) in one, all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are in earth’ (Eph. 1:10). ‘Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him (see Eph. 1:20), and given Him a (the) name which is above every name (Eph. 1:21), that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ (Phil. 2:9 - 11). The fact that fifteen out of the sixteen occurrences of the title ‘Lord’ are found in the practical section speaks for itself. This preponderance is in no wise affected if we include the titles ‘Lord Jesus’, ‘Our’ or ‘The Lord Jesus Christ’, and ‘Christ Jesus our Lord’. The R.V. with all the best texts omit the reference in Ephesians 3:14, and we are not surprised to discover that this group of occurrences of the title Kurios in combination with the other names of the Saviour is just exactly eight in number. For the sake of clearness, we give these eight references. ‘Lord Jesus’ (Eph. 1:15). ‘The Lord Jesus Christ’ (1:2; 6.23). ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1:3,17; 5:20; 6:24). ‘Christ Jesus our Lord’ (3:11). If we add these references to the sixteen already mentioned we find that there are six occurrences of the title ‘Lord’ in the doctrinal portion of Ephesians (1 to 3) and eighteen occurrences in the practical section (4 to 6) which but shows how the title Lord is associated not so much with privilege and position, but with the practical outworking of grace. This is further confirmed by the fact that kurios is translated in Ephesians 6:9 ‘Master’. ‘And, ye masters (kurios) ... forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master (kurios) also is in heaven’. When holding fast to the Unity of the Spirit, with the ‘One Lord’ in the centre, we must remember the exhortation of 2 Timothy 1:8,9: ‘Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner ... who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling ... according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (age times)’. The responsible side of the truth is further emphasized in 2 Timothy 2:19: ‘The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord (R.V.) depart from iniquity’. Again, the relationship of the title Lord to service and reward, is enforced by the following references: ‘The servant of the Lord must not strive’ (2 Tim. 2:24). ‘A (the) crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me’ (2 Tim. 4:8). ‘The Lord reward him according to his works’ (2 Tim. 4:14). ‘The Lord stood with me, and strengthened me’ (2 Tim. 4:17). It is important in view of the serious consequences that may attend failure or misunderstanding, to emphasize the fact that we have One Lord. While we would render to all their dues, and revere the memories of men of God who have laboured in the Word, we call no man master, One is our Lord, and all we are brethren. This Lord around whose glorious Person the Unity of the Spirit is gathered, is the source equally with the Father, of grace and peace (Eph. 1:2). God is, to us: ‘The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Eph. 1:3), and so throughout the epistle. The risen and ascended Lord is not only the centre of the Unity of the Spirit, but the very meeting place of all blessing. In Him distance is abolished and the far off are made nigh. In the Lord they grow as an holy Temple. To Him arises the melody of hearts, and strength is found ‘in the Lord’ for the evil day. ‘As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him’ (Col. 2:6). One Faith Just as we found that there were sixteen occurrences of the title ‘Lord’ both in Ephesians and in 2 Timothy, so we find that there are eight occurrences of ‘faith’ both in Ephesians and in 2 Timothy. The references to faith in Ephesians are distributed as follows: Three in the doctrinal portion (Eph. 1:15; 2:8; 3:12), three in the practical portion (Eph. 4:5,13; 6:16); one in the central prayer (Eph. 3:17) and one in the closing benediction (Eph. 6:23). Let us look at the three references in the doctrinal section. ‘Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints’ (Eph. 1:15). ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast’ (Eph. 2:8,9). ‘In Whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him’ (Eph. 3:12). In each of these passages there are peculiarities that repay attention. In Ephesians 1:15 the words ‘your faith in the Lord Jesus’ translate ten kath’humas pistin en to kurio Iesou ‘The faith according to you in the Lord Jesus’. Verse 15 is the opening verse of a member that extends to verse 19 where power to us -ward who believe ‘according to the working of God’s mighty power’, brings the section to a conclusion. Paul’s Prayer (Ephesians 1:15 -19) A 15,16. Faith according to you in the Lord Jesus. kata. B 17,18. That He may give. B 18,19. That ye may know. A 19. Power to us -ward who believe according to. kata. In Acts 17:28, where our version says ‘as certain also of your own poets have said’, the original reads: Hos kai tines ton kath’ humas poieton eirekasin ‘The according -to -you poets’; the apostle intentionally turning away from the Hebrew Scriptures in order to get the interest of his hearers. In Acts 18:15 where our version reads ‘If it be a question of words and names, and of your law’ the original reads kai nomou tou kath’ humas, ‘That law which is according to you’. One can sense the distance that is intended in these words, between ‘Roman law’ and this despised Jewish law of words and names. So in Acts 24:22 ‘your matter’ is ‘the thing according to you’. The faith which Paul speaks of in Ephesians 1:15 is evidently something especially related to the revelation of the Mystery, for with that as a basis, he is free to pray for knowledge in the matter of the hope, the inheritance and the power that are peculiar to this calling. It is this faith that must be kept as a distinctive item in the Unity of the spirit. Coming to the next reference we have a glorious statement concerning the character of salvation. It is by grace, it is through faith, it is the gift of God, it is not of works, it is unto good works. The phrase ‘and that not of yourselves’ is often read as though it said ‘and faith is not of yourselves, it, faith, is the gift of God’. The word pistis ‘faith’ is feminine. Touto ‘that’ is neuter and cannot therefore refer to the word faith. What we must do is to look upon the scheme of salvation as a whole like this ‘The grace-by-faith-salvation’ ‘that’, is not of self but God. This, therefore, must be included in the ‘one faith’ that we must keep. The third reference is in Ephesians 3:12 where we meet the peculiar expression ‘through the faith of Him’. We must shun the temptation to explain this away, and to reduce it to merely meaning ‘through our faith in Him’. There are a number of passages where ‘the faith of Jesus Christ’ or ‘the faith of Jesus’ refers to the Lord’s own faithfulness unto death, rather than to our faith in Him. Pistis ‘faith’ occurs about thirty times in the LXX and generally translates the Hebrew word emunah ‘truth’. We find by comparing Romans 3:3 with Romans 3:7 that ‘the faith of God’ and ‘the truth of God’ alike indicate His ‘faithfulness’. In the epistles of the Mystery, this ‘faith of Christ’ is mentioned three times. ‘Boldness of access ... through His faith’ (faithfulness) (Eph. 3:12). ‘Righteousness ... which is through faith of Christ, the out -of -God righteousness upon faith’ (Phil. 3:9). ‘Buried ... also raised with Him through the faith of the inworking of God, Who hath raised Him from the dead’ (Col. 2:12). The first reference links this faith with the One Body and One Spirit of Ephesians 2:18, which gives ‘access’ to the Father. The second reference makes certain doctrinal passages found in Romans and Galatians true for the church of the Mystery (Rom. 3:22; 3:26; Gal. 2:16). The third reference by its use of the word ‘inworking’ brings us back to Ephesians 1:15 -19, and the ‘faith that is according to you’. The three references in the practical section are: ‘One faith’ (Eph. 4:5); ‘the Unity of the faith’ (Eph. 4:13); and ‘the shield of faith’ (Eph. 6:16). The One Faith which we are to keep, is most evidently set forth in 4:13 as ‘the unity of the faith’. This unity of the faith is spoken of as something to attain unto, ‘till we all come’ katantao being translated ‘attain’ in Philippians 3:11, and in Acts 27:12. This was the goal of a newly given ministry ‘apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers’. These apostles were not those who had been appointed by the Lord while He was on earth, but were His gifts to the church ‘when He ascended up far above all heavens that He might fill all things’. This specially appointed ministry had in view: ‘The adjusting of the saints (implying a rupture that needed mending, and so looking back to the dispensational crisis of Acts 28), unto a work of ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ’ (Eph. 4:12). This ‘unity of the faith’ is expanded in Ephesians 4:13 as ‘the knowledge of the Son of God’ and its standard is ‘a perfect man’, its measure ‘the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ’. In the phrase ‘the perfect man’ anthropos is not used, but aner ‘an adult male’, a word that is translated several times in Ephesians 5 by the word ‘husband’. The word ‘stature’ does not refer so much to feet and inches as to ‘full age’ as in John 9:21, and this measure is nothing less than ‘the fulness of Christ’. To appreciate this high standard, demands an examination of the occurrences of ‘fulness’ in these epistles -- a delightful study which we leave our readers to undertake for themselves. These are some of the distinctive characteristics of the ‘One Faith’ which all are called upon to keep inviolate who believe the testimony of the Lord’s prisoner, and share in the blessings of the dispensation of the Mystery. One Baptism When baptism is mentioned it is generally thought of as coming under two headings, ‘baptism in water’ and ‘baptism in Spirit’, and according to whether we have appreciated the true character of the Mystery or not, we shall think of the One Baptism of Ephesians 4:5 as being one or the other of these two. As we view the general movement of the Scriptures we discover that as dispensation succeeds dispensation, as truth is more fully revealed and understood, so ceremonies and observances grow less and less until at last we learn that they are all ‘shadows’, but that the ‘Body’ is of Christ. The Tabernacle with all its glorious typical ritual is spoken of by the Author of it Himself as standing: ‘Only in meats and drinks, and divers washings (baptisms), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation’ (Heb. 9:10), thereby revealing His Own mind as to the value of such ceremonials. The argument of Colossians 2:14-17 is very similar to the argument of Hebrews 9: ‘Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross ... Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday ... or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come: but the Body is of Christ’. If the ‘carnal ordinances and divers baptisms’ commanded by the Lord were finished for the believing Hebrew, how much more does the selfsame argument in Colossians 2, teach that ordinances and ceremonies are finished for the member of the Body of Christ? In Colossians 2 circumcision and baptism are mentioned together. Can we teach that circumcision must be interpreted spiritually as of something accomplished on our behalf by the offering of Christ and at the same time interpret baptism literally, as of some rite, equally as carnal as those commanded by God in the dispensation of types and shadows? That is impossible. So far as circumcision is concerned, the Scripture actually says that it was ‘without hands’, and there may be some who would reply that the baptism of Colossians 2:12, is not so defined and therefore must still refer to baptism in water. This we must see presently. Before we take up this matter of baptism as defined in Colossians 2, let us consider the alternative to water baptism. Some may be ready to believe that the One Baptism of Ephesians 4 is the Baptism of the Spirit. In one sense we must agree that this is so. First we observe in the structure of the sevenfold unity that ‘One Baptism’ is balanced by ‘One Spirit’ which is suggestive, and secondly the analogy of the faith demands that in the realm of ‘all spiritual blessings’ types and shadows will have no place. As the early church left behind all the elaborate ritual of the law and had but two ordinances to remember, so the Church of the perfect man, passes beyond even these two, to find their spiritual equivalents in Christ Himself. With all this we find ourselves in agreement and yet, if we teach that the ‘One Baptism’ of Ephesians 4 is ‘the Baptism of the Spirit’ we shall in all probability be understood to be using the phrase as Paul used it in 1 Corinthians 12:13: ‘For by One Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free’. Some one may say ‘And why not understand the One Baptism of Ephesians 4 in this way?’ Our answer is that to do so breaks the first and greatest commandment of the law of interpretation. We shall have failed rightly to divide the word of truth. No amount of appeal to similar expressions such as ‘One Spirit’ or ‘One Body’ can alter the fact that 1 Corinthians 12 deals with a dispensation characterized by miraculous gifts, and that Ephesians 4 deals with a dispensation where such gifts are absent. The apostle makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 12:1 that he is about to deal with ‘Spiritual gifts’. In 1 Corinthians 12:8 -10 he enumerates nine different spiritual gifts, but shows that however diverse they may be, they are all worked by that one and selfsame Spirit. This diversity in unity is the great point of Paul’s argument and subsequent illustration. So in verse 12 he turns from the diversity of gifts and the one and selfsame Spirit, to an illustration: ‘For just as the body is one, and hath many members’. The fact that he defines such members as ‘the eye’, ‘the ear’ and ‘the nose’ makes it clear that he is not contemplating the ‘Church which is His Body’ for of that Body ‘Christ is the Head’ and the apostle would not mix his metaphors and speak of the eye and the ear as members of this Body. Again, the fact that he pursues the analogy of the human body so far as to speak of ‘uncomely parts’ and ‘less honourable members’, makes it impossible that he is speaking of that Body in which all members are equal. A closer examination of 1 Corinthians 12 reveals the evident fact that in Paul’s analogy ‘the members’ thus described and compared, are not believers, but ‘the gifts’. This is easily seen by comparing verses 18 -27 with 28 -31. ‘But now hath God Set the members’, then follows a list of different members, in which three are closely associated with intelligence, the eye, the ear, the nose. ‘And God hath Set some in the church’, then follows a list of supernatural gifts enjoyed by the church during the period of the Acts in which three are closely associated with intelligent administration, apostles, prophets, teachers. Even the very order and number of these first gifts (1) apostles, (2) prophets, (3) teachers, differs from those of Ephesians 4: (1) apostles, (2) prophets, (3) evangelists, (4) pastors and teachers, and the succeeding ‘miracles’, ‘healing’, etc. are foreign to the dispensation of the Mystery. To come back to our starting point again, we therefore find it unscriptural to speak of the One Baptism of Ephesians 4 as ‘The baptism of the Spirit’, because that phrase is so definitely associated with miraculous gifts and so definitely links that Church to Pentecost (see Matt. 3:11; Acts 1:5; 10:47) so that it is misleading and untrue if brought over into the dispensation of the Mystery. It is as impossible to think of the Baptism of the Spirit apart from all the accompanying gifts of the Spirit, as it is to think of the baptism of John without water. The reader may feel that by this argument we have reached a deadlock. He may say, ‘If the One Baptism of Ephesians 4 is neither that of water or spirit, it ceases to exist at all’. This would be the case if the Scripture limited baptism to either water or spirit -- that is the error that blinds the eye to the fuller teaching of Ephesians 4. What if there is a third baptism, of which both water and spirit were shadows? Is there such a baptism anywhere to be found except in the mind of the present writer? Yes, it is found as early as the Gospels. There we find that the Lord Jesus was baptized in water by John in Jordan, and that this was followed by the baptism of the Spirit, ‘the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him’ (Matt. 3:13 -16), yet when this was long past, the Lord said ‘I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened (held in narrow limits) till it be accomplished!’ (Luke 12:50; Matt. 20:22,23). There are, therefore, three baptisms, not two baptisms that are before us in the New Testament: (1) The baptism of water. (2) The baptism of Spirit. (4) The baptism of death and burial. It is this third baptism that is in view in Ephesians 4, for Colossians 2, which belongs to the same dispensation as does Ephesians, most distinctly says: ‘Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, Who hath raised Him from the dead’ (Col. 2:12). When the dispensation changed and a new sphere of blessing was made known ‘in heavenly places’, that did not alter the fact that beneath it all was the finished Work of Christ, or the equally blessed fact of the believer’s identification with that finished Work. We can, therefore, go back to Romans 6 to discover further light upon this third baptism, knowing that while dispensational positions and callings may change, the rock foundation of the finished Work of Christ must ever remain. ‘Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life’ (Rom. 6:3,4). Here is a close parallel with the passage already quoted from Colossians 2:12. The church of the One Body is reckoned to have ‘died with Christ’ (Col. 2:20) to have been ‘buried with Christ’ (Col. 2:12); to have been ‘quickened with Christ’ (Eph. 2:5); to have been ‘raised with Christ’ (Eph. 2:6), and to be ‘seated with Christ’ (Eph. 2:6). Some of its members who endure suffering for Christ’s sake will ‘reign with Christ’ (2 Tim. 2:12), while every member by virtue of the fact that they ‘died with Him’ is assured that they will ‘live with Him’ (2 Tim. 2:11), looking for that blessed hope of one day being ‘manifested with Him in glory’ (Col. 3:4). Before any ordinance of baptism was imposed upon Israel by the law, they too had experienced a baptism that was entirely outside of their own volition, a baptism that united them as one company together with their leader: ‘All our fathers ... were all baptized unto Moses (burial) in the cloud (spirit) and in the sea (water)’ (1 Cor. 10:1,2). Baptism in water never had the place with Paul that it occupied in the ministry of Peter, for Peter could never have said: ‘Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel’ (1 Cor. 1:17). The apostle Paul gives the fact that Christ was ‘buried’ a prominent place in his gospel (1 Cor. 15:4), for burial is the ‘end of all things’ apart from God. The church of the One Body has come to that stage where nothing of the flesh in any shape or form counts with God. This church begins with Christ risen, and the One Baptism to which we hold is the union that grace has accomplished, a union of the believer with the whole finished work of Christ, His death, His burial and His resurrection. This baptism depends upon no external signs or internal feelings. The member of the Body of Christ today who prays for ‘the baptism of the Spirit’ is actually praying for that which he has already received ‘buried with Him in baptism’, or is praying for that which he will never receive, because what he prays for belongs to a dispensation past and gone. It would have been strange if the sevenfold Unity of the Spirit had contained no reference to that one great Work which alone makes the believer accepted before God, namely, the finished Work of Christ. We have seen that it does give it a place. We gladly ‘leave’ the typical baptism in water and ‘go on’ unto the perfection here revealed. We gladly leave ‘the baptism of the Spirit’ to the dispensation to which it belongs, and we gladly subscribe once more to that unity of all unities, ‘That Christ is all and in all’. One God and Father We now come to the last member of the Unity of the Spirit ‘One God and Father’. The first thing we notice is that this is the only double title in the series of seven. Is it the intention of the apostle to introduce into this very elective and exclusive unity such a fundamental doctrine as the Unity of the Godhead? That can hardly be his purpose. His intention is to stress the fact that in this unity all are members of one family, and that God Himself is the Father of them all. The character of the church of the Mystery is contained in Ephesians 1:3 -14. There, as in the sevenfold Unity of the Spirit, we find the Father, the Son and the Spirit. A 1:3 -6. The Will of the Father. B 1:6. To the praise of the glory of His grace. A 1:7 -11. The Work of the Son. B 1:12. To the praise of His glory. A 1:13,14. The Witness of the Spirit. B 1:14. To the praise of His glory. All blessing originates in the Will of the Father. Consequently, Paul opens this wondrous section with a note of praise: ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as He hath chosen in Him before the foundation (overthrow) of the world’ (Eph. 1:3,4). God is ‘our father’ because He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are men, and for our sakes the Word was made flesh, He Who was the Image of the invisible God, was found in fashion as a man; He Who created all things, Who upholds all things, and for Whom are all things, He Who is worshipped by angels, and Who is yet to be acknowledged as Jehovah (Phil. 2:9 -11, with Isa. 45:23) became the Babe of Bethlehem, the Seed of the woman, and as the Unique Man, owned no human being as Father. The Father is He Who has blessed us, chosen us, predestinated us and Who has made us accepted in the Beloved. He predestinated us to ‘adoption’ huiothesia ‘the placing as sons’ -- something more than children by birth, and as sons we cry ‘Abba, Father’. The Church of the One Body is a part of a great family, a family not limited to heaven, but extending to the earth. ‘For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father ... of Whom the whole (or every) family in heaven and earth is named’ (Eph. 3:14,15). Just as the Father is the last member of the Unity of the Spirit, so the goal of the ages is that God shall be the recognized Father of His redeemed family, and ‘All in all’ to them. Thus this member of the unity is extended; it does not merely say ‘One Father’ but ‘One God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in you all’ (Eph. 4:6). Some mss omit the word humin ‘you’, some read ‘us’. J. N. Darby’s note is sane here. He says ‘It is as likely that humin was left out to make it uniform and as not understood as that it was added to apply it to Christians’. Just as Ephesians 1:22 does not say that Christ was given to be Head over all things, but ‘Head over all things to the Church which is His Body’ so Ephesians 4:6 is not concerned with the universe, Headship of the universe is neither affirmed nor denied, it is irrelevant to the subject. The apostle says that God the Father is over all things, and through all things, and in all things ‘To Us’, which is a subject that matters and is in line with Ephesians 1:22,23, where ‘Head over all things to the church’ forms an essential item in doctrine and practice. If the One Who is over all is our Father, what need we fear? If by the time any experience becomes ours, we have grace to see that He is also ‘through’ all things, what can harm us? If to us He is ‘in’ all things, what a safeguard! And if this One Who is our Father be also our God, what a doctrine to hold fast! Apart from the opening salutation, the references to the Father in Colossians are all accompanied by thanksgiving. ‘We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you’ (Col. 1:3). ‘Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light’ (1:12). ‘And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him’ (3:17). The first reference goes on to speak of the ‘hope which is laid up for you in heaven’, the second tells of ‘meetness’ for the enjoyment of such a hope, and the third speaks of the corresponding practice that befits those thus blessed. The Father Who is thus thanked three times, is the One Who is over all, and through all, or in all things ‘to us’. Such is the sevenfold Unity of the spirit. The opening member One Body, is a part of the great family of faith, whether their destiny be heaven or earth, and it is balanced by One God and Father. The One Spirit Who seals every member of this Body for the inheritance yet to come, identifies them by One Baptism with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. The One Hope is most intimately connected with this special calling, and is balanced by the One Faith, the Unity of the Faith, which is so fully expanded in Ephesians 4:13. The One Lord, the One in Whom all these blessings are found, is the member that is left supreme in the midst. The Ascended Lord is the focus of all our faith and hope and apart from Him the Unity of the Spirit is impossible. The Ministry for the Readjustment (Eph. 4:7 -12) We have now reviewed each member of the Unity of the Spirit, and in the course of that consideration we associated the One Faith of Ephesians 4:5, with the unity of the faith of Ephesians 4:13. The attaining of this unity of the faith appears to be the second great step in the walk that is worthy and before we close this subject it seems only right that we should give heed to this expansion of our subject. We find in this great section of the epistle, namely Ephesians 4:1 -17, that there are three unities, three measures and three ministries, and while we are concerned primarily with one of these only, we never lose anything by getting our subject well placed as regards its context. This is what we find: A Eph. 4:3 -6. The Sevenfold Unity of the Spirit. B 4:7. The Measure of the gift of Christ. C 4:8 -12. The Ministry for adjustment and building. A 4:13. The Sevenfold Unity of the Faith. B 4:13. The Measure of the ... fulness of Christ. C 4:14,15. The Ministry of growth. A 4:16. The Sevenfold Unity of the Body. B 4:16. The Measure of every part. C 4:16. The Ministry for increase and building. The attainment of this unity of the faith is the second great step in this walk that is worthy. The first unity was followed by a measure (Eph. 4:7), the second unity, that of the faith, is followed by a measure (Eph. 4:13) and the third unity, that of the Body fitly joined together, is followed by a measure (Eph. 4:16). These features are too obviously designed to be ignored by any lover of the Word. It is impossible to commence our study at Ephesians 4:13, starting as it does with the word ‘till’, for this looks back to the ministry of verse 12, and this verse flows out of verse 11 as the word ‘for’ indicates and so on and on back to the opening verse of the practical section. We shall have to go back as far as verse 7 which opens with the disjunctive ‘but’. ‘But’ suggests that some contrastive teaching is in hand, and if we look at the passage we shall see that the apostle after speaking of a Unity, now turns from the Unity to the Unit, saying, in effect: ‘But, although I have stressed "all" and "Unity" let us not forget that a Unity is composed of units, and a unity can contain no more than the sum total of its parts, so therefore remember that unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ’. This statement is followed by a quotation from Psalm 68:18 and is concerned with two things. (1) The Ascension. (2) The gifts received from the Ascended Christ by men. Before specifying these gifts the apostle pauses to make sure that we shall appreciate in some measure the high glory of the Giver, so that His gifts shall be the better received. In the course of his explanation, he tells us that when Christ ascended, He ascended up far above all heavens. The gifts therefore that are here mentioned are peculiar to the Mystery, for ‘far above all’ whether ‘principality’ or ‘all heavens’ is true of that calling only. These gifts are now enumerated: ‘And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers’ (Eph. 4:11). The words ‘some ... some’ translate the Greek men ... de ... de and call attention to the distinctive character of each gift. Alford translates ‘He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, etc’.. A reference to the gifts of an earlier dispensation will reveal the value of keeping strictly to the Divine enumeration. In 1 Corinthians 12:28 we read: ‘And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily, prophets, thirdly, teachers, after that miracles’ etc. This is evidently a different ministry, for the evangelist is omitted in 1 Corinthians 12, but is included in Ephesians 4, while the enumeration of the first three gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 precludes any idea of casuality in the order. The gifts of Ephesians 4, were from the Ascended Christ. Now, even if we should set Paul aside, which is impossible, yet even then the plural word ‘apostles’ would demand another order beside that of the twelve, for the twelve were called not by the ascended Lord, but in the days of His earthly ministry (Matt. 10:2). This new order of apostles and prophets is spoken of as a ‘foundation’ in Ephesians 2:20, in no sense competing with ‘Jesus Christ Who is the Chief Corner Stone’, but indicating that before the new company could be called under the terms of the new dispensation, some pioneer work had to be done to bridge the gulf and prepare the ground for the new building. This was done once and for all by the apostles and prophets. No provision is made in the Scriptures for any further apostles or prophets in the church of the Mystery. This foundation is followed by ‘evangelists, pastors and teachers’. When Paul knew that the time for his departure had come, he called upon Timothy to make full proof of his ministry as an evangelist, (2 Tim. 4:5), and to arrange for the appointing of teachers (2 Tim. 2:2). The office of pastor is united to that of teacher, and is literally ‘shepherd’. This looks to the great world -wide work that is to be done today among the ‘other sheep’ and comes under John’s Gospel -- a subject too wide for the present article, but which has been dealt with in The Berean Expositor, Volume 20 under the heading The Dispensational Place of John’s Gospel. This new ministry, the gift of the Head of the Church in the capacity of Him that ‘fills all things’, was for a definite object: ‘For (pros toward) the perfecting of the saints unto (eis) a work of ministry, unto (eis) the building up of the Body of Christ’ (Eph. 4:12). The ‘perfecting’ here refers to the ‘mending’ of a rent, the ‘resetting’ of a limb, see the use of katartizo in Matthew 4:21 and Galatians 6:1. There is in the word the idea of ‘adapting’ anything to new conditions, as ‘prepared’ in Hebrews 10:5, and as the framing of the ages, Hebrews 11:3. The reason for this ministry of re -adjustment is found in the dispensational crisis of Acts 28. With the setting aside of the chosen channel of blessing, the people of Israel, a new order was necessitated and was introduced in the prison ministry of the apostle Paul. He and his immediate helpers ‘re -adjusted’ the saints to the new conditions. This is called ‘a work of ministry’ and its great object was ‘the building up of the Body of Christ’. We must not read this ‘edifying of the Body of Christ’ as though it meant its spiritual growth in grace, but rather the initial work of setting the new calling upon a true basis. When this work was done ‘gifts’ as such ceased, and each member makes for the increase of the Body as it takes its place as a joint in the Body (Eph. 4:16). Before this could take place however, something more was necessary. This Body and this Building, this perfecting and this ministry, dealt with revealed truth that must be believed to be effective, hence, we read as the goal of this new ministry: ‘Till we all come to the unity of the faith’.

An Alphabetical Analysis

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