“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” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
These complement and belong to each other. They are heaven’s platform for unity. Not one of them is subject to compromise or deletion. The one baptism, the one faith, the one hope, and the one body are just as essential to Christianity as the one Spirit, the one Lord, and the one God. They all stand or fall together.
(1) There is one body. This body is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18). It existed many centuries before denominations came to be.
(2) There is one Spirit, i.e., one Holy Spirit. This fact assures unity of revelation. All Scriptures were revealed and confirmed by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16)
(3) There is one hope. This hope is the desire and expectation of eternal life in heaven. It has nothing to do with a so-called rapture or a supposed reign of Christ on earth. Paul wrote: “In hope of eternal life which God that cannot lie promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2).
(4) There is one Lord, the Christ. He has all authority in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18). Gospel obedience and miracles were “in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:38; 3:1-7). Paul wrote: “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” (Colossians 3:17).
(5) There is one faith. The one faith is “the faith” of other passages. It is synonymous with the gospel (Acts 6:7; Galatians 1:23; Jude 3). “One faith” insures unity of doctrine.
(6) There is one baptism. This is not sprinkling nor pouring; it is not fire baptism or Holy Spirit baptism; it is not the baptism of Moses or of John. It is water baptism, immersion, the baptism of the Great Commission (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 8:36-39).
(7) There is one God and Father. “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many and lords many), but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things, and we by him” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6).
Note: Over the next seven weeks each of these characteristics of Christianity will be considered separately.