Nov 2, 2012

There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call–one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. ~ Eph. 4:4-6

Reading Ephesians always brings me great joy and great sadness. Joy over all God has done for me, and sadness at how we’ve taken his gift and used it hurt and divide us.

I’ve heard Ephesians 4:4-6 preached for years in various churches, and I’m sure you have, too. Usually, I have heard it preached that there is one church, and that church is the one you’re sitting in. However, reading it in context, that isn’t what Paul meant at all. Instead of a tool to divide, Paul meant this statement to bind.

In the chapter two, Paul is addressing the Gentile Christians. He’s telling them that though they used to be separated from God and his promises to the Jews, now, through Christ, they and the Jews are one. They both have equal access to God, to his promises, and to gifts he’s given them in Christ. They are  to be enemies no longer. Instead, Paul writes, “he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (2:14).

Paul’s list of ones then is a summary of what he just said to the Gentiles here and in other letters and not a sword meant to divide Christians for years to come. Notice how his list refers to statements he’s made previously:

  • one body – “…and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Eph. 2:16).
  • one Spirit – “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:18).
  • one hope – “that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you…” (Eph. 1:18)
  • one Lord – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3).
  • one faith – “For by grace you have been saved through faith…” (Eph. 2:8a)
  • one baptism – “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27)
  • one God and Father – “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:18)

As you can see, in these verses Paul is referring to the power of the cross to bring reconciliation between God and man, and man and man. Moving forward, instead of a means to divide, let’s begin to use these statements as Paul used them. Let’s use them to bind up, build unity, and bring peace.

Do you find it hard to study the Bible?

It doesn’t have to be.

Let me help you learn a technique for studying that makes it simple. Join me as we study one chapter each week and memorize two verses of scripture each month.

You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in your life.

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