(4) “THERE IS ONE BODY, AND ONE SPIRIT, EVEN AS YE ARE CALLED IN ONE HOPE OF YOUR CALLING;”
The “Unity of the Spirit” of which Paul has spoken, brings into realization the unity of the Son and thence to the Source of unity in the Father, as we will see in succeeding Verses.
“One Body” depicts the Church as a single visible community. It is not simply a mystical concept. Its unity is recognizable in that Jews and Gentiles are now seen to be reconciled in Christ. In the Pagan world there were many religious cults, but as it regards Christianity, all are members of one Body. However, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle had much more in mind than merely the amalgamation of Jews and Gentiles into one Body, i.e., “one Church.” He is speaking of the entirety of the Plan of God as it regards not only the Church, but each individual. It is the manner in which all things are received from the Lord, and as well, in which all things are given to us.
“One Spirit” indwells the Body of Christ. By Him the Body lives and moves (I Cor. 12:13). The Holy Spirit is its soul; apart from Him it cannot exist. Consequently, the same Spirit fell on the Jews at Pentecost and on the Gentiles in the House of Cornelius. Peter made it clear that it was the same Spirit (Acts 10:47; 11:12, 15–17).
The “one Spirit” Who has already spanned this gulf will bring together all who Name the Name of Christ, and for the obvious reasons.
The Holy Spirit is the pledge of our inheritance (Eph. 1:14) and so He is the Guarantor of the “one hope” to which we are called (Eph. 1:18; 2:12). This is not the hope that stems from the calling but the hope that belongs to the call (Eph. 4:1). It is, of course, the hope of sharing Christ’s Glory at the end of the age (I Jn. 3:2).
The phrase, “There is one Body,” pertains to the Church, the Body of called-out Believers. Admittance to this Body is the “Born-Again” experience (Jn. 3:3).
This “Body” is the invisible Church, and yet at the same time visible, the Mystical Body of Christ, which is composed of all Believers before the Cross and after the Cross. All are included in this Body, for this was actually the purpose of God in forming the nation of Israel to begin with. It was done in order to give the world the Word of God, and bring the Redeemer into the world, so that all, both Jews and Gentiles would have the opportunity of Salvation, all in Christ. That Israel refused her share, in no way negated the Plan of God, even though it did alter its direction (Rom. Chpt. 11).
This “One Body” will have its culmination at the Rapture, or perhaps a better word would be “The Resurrection.” That’s the reason that the Holy Spirit said through John, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the First Resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be Priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).
The phrase, “One Body” means as should be obvious, that there aren’t 20 Churches or five, or even two. There is just one, and as stated, admittance into this Church or Body is the acceptance of Christ, Who Alone is the Redeemer (Jn. 3:16).
Man cannot bring an individual into this “Body,” and man cannot take an individual out of this “Body.” To be sure, some have been attempting to do that, and I speak of so-called religious leaders, almost since the beginning of time. In other words, the claim by some, that if you do not belong to their Church you are not saved, etc. Such is foolishness, as should be obvious!
While it’s imperative that the Believer find a good Church, faithfully attend that Church, and faithfully support that Church, it must always be understood, that membership or participation in an earthly organization, constitutes no Salvation at all. However, the assembling of ourselves together in order to worship God is absolutely necessary, and for all the obvious reasons. We are saved not only to ourselves, but as a part of the Body, and as such, we desire to be with the Body.
THE NECESSITY OF A GOOD CHURCH
As we’ve already explained, when we say “Church” we are not necessarily speaking of a building beside the road with the name “Church” painted on it. Church is made up of Believers, and when Believers meet together in order to worship God, wherever that may be, that is “Church.”
It is absolutely necessary that one be led by the Spirit as it regards the Pastor under whom one sits. The Believer will always be a product of what they are taught. God has set various callings in the Church for this purpose, which we will deal with in the 11th Verse. However, if the Believer chooses to sit under an “Angel of Light,” who in fact, is one of “Satan’s ministers,” the end results will be dire (II Cor. 11:12–15).
To which we have already alluded these “ministers” will look like God, act like God, talk like God, and say many right things; however, all of that is done, in order to snare the individual for their own devious purposes. False teachers came into the Church in the time of Paul, which caused him to address this subject over and over again, and to be sure, false teachers are still abundant presently. In fact, for every “true Teacher of the Word,” there are probably several false teachers of the Word.
Unfortunately, there are many Believers, perhaps the majority, who are truly in this “one Body,” meaning they have been truly Born-Again, but are sitting under false teachers. It happened at Corinth and Galatia, with attempts no doubt being made in all the Churches planted by Paul, necessitating several of his Epistles.
So, Satan will do all within his power to keep the person out of this “Body of Christ,” but if he cannot do that, he will attempt to push them into erroneous teaching, which will greatly hinder their spiritual growth, and could even cause them to ultimately be lost.
THE EFFORTS OF SATAN
Satan was strongly attempting in the time of Paul to split the Church, in effect, making it two bodies of Christ, one composed of the Jews and another composed of the Gentiles. Through the power of the Cross, reconciliation with God had been effected for both Jew and Gentile, thus creating the possibility not only of the vertical relationship of peace with God but also the horizontal relationship of peace with all men. Thus, one Body of Believers has been brought into being (Eph. 2:16).
As we have stated, Satan’s effort in this capacity did not die with the early Church but continues unto this moment. He attempts to make several bodies, which of course, can never be sanctioned by the Holy Spirit. So, any Believer who even remotely hints in his thinking, of admittance into this Body, as by any other way than Faith in Christ, that individual is on dangerous ground. In other words, if he thinks that one has to belong to his Church to be saved, he has just created a second body, which the Lord cannot accept and in which the Holy Spirit cannot work. In other words, the very thing they are claiming—their Church as the only Church—has the very opposite effect. By their own actions, they are taking themselves out of the true Body of Christ, placing themselves into this man-devised body. Millions have lost their souls in this fashion.
The “one Body” means that this is not a Western Gospel, or an Eastern Gospel, or any other type of localized Gospel. It is one Gospel for this one Body, for the entirety of the world, for all of mankind, all in Christ.
The phrase, “And One Spirit,” refers, of course, to the Holy Spirit. Even though this phrase is short, it contains a wealth of meaning, as should be obvious.
Paul is stressing here the unity of the Godhead, which unity should rest in the hearts of Believers as well. Inasmuch as there is only One Holy Spirit, there can be no diversity of doctrine or contradiction in any capacity. So, in essence, Paul is saying that both he and the Judaizers cannot be correct, inasmuch as the teaching of each contradicts the others. It is the same presently!
There are hundreds and possibly even thousands of different types of Churches and belief systems as it regards the Word of God, much, often contradictory. Knowing that the Holy Spirit is not the Author of such contradiction, then we must come to the conclusion that some are wrong in their Doctrine. For those who sit under such wrong doctrine, and untold millions do, what they are hearing is not given by the Holy Spirit, not inspired by the Holy Spirit, which means irrespective of the claims, that it is not the Word of God. Consequently, deception and spiritual wreckage are the result, which regrettably, characterizes most of that which goes under the name of “Church.”
THE TRUE CHURCH
The true Church does not go under a denominational name. Whatever name it goes under, it is where the One and the Selfsame Spirit dwells.
Regarding all who are truly Born-Again, it was the same Holy Spirit Who awakened all; enlightened all; convicted all; and, converted all. Wherever they may be, and whoever, there has been substantially the same work of the Spirit in the heart of every Christian. There are circumstantial differences arising from diversities of temperament, disposition, and education; there may be a difference in the depth and power of His operations on the soul; there may be a difference in the degree of conviction for sin and in the evidence of conversion, but still there are the same operations on the heart essentially, produced by the same Spirit.
All the Gifts which come from God, are in essence, products of the Spirit. All the zeal, the ardor, the love, the self-denial in the Church, are produced by the same Spirit. Consequently, there should be, therefore, “unity.”
There is one Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God Who was outpoured on Believers with such marvelous manifestations on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1–4), who were altogether Jewish. As well, this same Spirit was given to the Gentile Believers at Caesarea under the ministry of Peter (Acts 10:44–46; 15:7–9), and in fact, to all Believers from then unto now.