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A Grand Statement of Faith
by Pastor Paul M. Sadler
"Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one Body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Eph. 4:3-6).
Notice that the Spirit of God, not the local assembly, has established this sevenfold unity. These seven planks form the doctrinal foundation upon which the super-structure of the Mystery rests. It is indeed a grand statement of faith. Due to the fact that the Spirit has established it, adherence to the sevenfold unity isn't negotiable, it is required. A complete exegesis of this subject is found in the author's book, Exploring the Unsearchable Riches of Christ. In fact, one entire chapter is devoted to each plank of the statement. Therefore, we will only be giving a brief presentation here to ensure that the reader is pointed in the right direction.
It is imperative to remember that each part of the sevenfold unity of the Spirit is unique to Paul's gospel. Moreover, each is spiritual in nature, not physical. We have before us the unsearchable riches of Christ:
1. One Body: This is the new creation that God foreordained that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. The Body of Christ is a living organism made up of Jews and Gentiles without distinction. We are members one of another--one in Christ, who is our Head (1 Cor. 12:12,13; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 1:22,23).
2. One Spirit: The person of the Spirit is the same yesterday, today, and forever. However, His role during the dispensation of Grace has changed dramatically. Today it is the Spirit who baptizes us into the Church, the Body of Christ. He also illuminates those who are seeking a fuller knowledge of God's will, which is accomplished by enlightening them to the Mystery (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 3:1-5; Col. 1:8-10 cf. 1:25-27).
3. Even as ye are called in one hope of your calling: We certainly have no objections to those who limit the apostle's words here to theRapture. We, too, believe that this glorious event is indeed included in the phrase. But Paul is addressing the one hope of our calling, wherein we find that believers have been called into His grace in Christ. Christ is our hope according to I Timothy 1:1: "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope." Thus, the hope of salvation (Rapture--deliverance from the wrath to come), the hope of the resurrection, the hope of heaven, and the hope of eternal life, are all vested in Him (Gal. 1:4; 1 Thes. 5:8; 1 Cor. 15:19; Col. 1:5; Titus 1:2).
4. One Lord: The person of Christ is immutable. Like the Spirit, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. With the King in royal exile due to His rejection, Christ is conducting a heavenly ministry today with the Church, which is His Body. As the Head of the Body, He is seated at the right hand of the Father as the God of all grace, not willing that any should perish but that all would receive deliverance from the judgment to come (Eph. 1:19-23; 2:13-16; Col. 1:15-19).
5. One faith: While this might well be a reference to the entirety of Paul's revelation, which he calls the faith, we feel this would be somewhat redundant when the same could be said of the sevenfold unity under consideration. It seems to us that the apostle has the faith of Christ in mind, as it relates to the terms of salvation. With the change in dispensations, Paul was given the secret of the gospel which is Calvary. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. Thus, when we believe the gospel of salvation, that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again, we are justified by His faithfulness (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 6:19).
6. One baptism: This is the baptism that saves. Even most of our Baptist friends would agree with this conclusion. The moment we trust Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit spiritually baptizes us into Christ. According to Paul's revelation, this baptism simultaneously places us into the Body of Christ and identifies us with His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3,4; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12).
7. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all: We serve one God who eternally exists in three persons:Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Godhead is co-equal and co-eternal. As we have seen, God the Father is making known His eternal purposefor the Church during the age of Grace. He is working in and through us to the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:3-6; 3:11; Phil. 2:12-15).