Ephesians 4:4-6

Welcome to Timeless Truth with Pastor Jim Thomas. In season 1, Pastor Jim is leading us in a study of Ephesians.  Today’s passage is Ephesians 4:4-6.

Ephesians 4 brings together Christian experience with Christian thinking and Christian ethics. It is a convergence of Gospel shaped being, with Gospel informed belief, and Gospel directed behavior. 

“In the essentials- unity, in the non-essentials- liberty, in all things- charity.”
– Rupertus Meldinius, popularized by Richard Baxter (17th century English Puritan)

What are the essentials?

V4-6 Here seem like a creedal statement in which Paul articulates the theological unity of believers. This unity is based on commonly held essential beliefs, maintained by Gospel informed thinking, which becomes the bedrock foundation of the unity we are called to preserve in the Spirit (v3).

7 “one’s” 

  1. One body Paul is the only NT writer to use this analogy but it is a good one. There are many and diverse parts in the human body but all are needed! The church reflects unity in its diversity, to the glory of Jesus!
  2. One Spirit (surely, this is a reference to the Holy Spirit, without Whom we would stumble and fall, drift and wander)
  3. One hope Eschatological anticipation! Looking forward to when Christ returns to set all things right, as our victorious King!
  4. One Lord More than just our Savior, Jesus as Savior AND Lord!
  5. One faith – In Christ alone!
  6. One baptism – not about method/mode/amount of water, but about being identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.
  7. One God and Father, over all and through all and in all! This is our Sovereign Creator God!

“Difference of belief and unity of believers are not inconsistent.”
– posted on a sign on the door of the study of Jeremiah Burroughs, 17th century English Puritan and Non-conformist, author of The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

The depth of these 7 “One’s” should expose the shallowness of all those things we have allowed to divide us as Gospel believing Christians. It is about salvation by grace, through faith, in Christ! For too long we have allowed much more insignificant things to separate and divide us. 

“Christians must maintain the unity of the Spirit because everything they hold of any significance they hold with other people. Seven items are preceded by the word “one,” and in each case the oneness expresses both the uniqueness of the item and its foundational value for unity…Christianity is a shared faith.”
– Klyne Snodgrass, Ephesians NIV Application Commentary

The church is the chosen, called, redeemed, sanctified and increasingly transformed individuals who have surrendered all of who they are to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The church is a multi-national, multi-racial, multi-cultural diverse unity who now find their identity in Christ.

“What binds us together is not common education, common race, common income levels, common politics, common nationality, common accents, common jobs, or anything else of that sort. Christians come together not because they form a natural collocation, but because they have all been saved by Jesus Christ and owe him a common allegiance. In this light we are a band of natural enemies who love one another for Jesus’ sake.”
– D. A. Carson

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