by Shawn Brasseaux
In Scripture numerics, the number seven (7) in the Bible symbolizes “perfection/completion.” In this Bible study, we want to discuss the seven-fold unity of the Spirit. What is this, you ask? Good question. Our discussion will stem from what the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:1-7 KJV. Let us look at the first three verses of that passage:
“1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Here, the Apostle Paul is writing from a Roman prison, to believers in the city of Ephesus. He urges them to lead lives that honor God and reflect His grace. Also, Paul instructs them to humbly submit to God’s will and to be patient with one another. In verse 3, God’s Word says that we should strive to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” What exactly does this mean? Continue reading the following verses:
“4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”
In our world, there are over two billion professing Christians. But, how many of those people are genuine, Holy Spirit-indwelt Christians? We determine that by understanding what seven doctrines unite all true, Holy Spirit-indwelt people.
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(Romans 12:4,5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 1:22,23; Ephesians 2:13-22; Ephesians 4:12; Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18,24; Colossians 3:15; et al.)
In this Dispensation of Grace, apart from the nation Israel, God is dealing with the Church the Body of Christ. It is critical for you to understand that the Body of Christ is strictly a Pauline revelation (you cannot find references to it outside of Romans through Philemon). The Church the Body of Christ is a spiritual entity, composed of all true believers in Paul’s Gospel of Grace, whether Jew or Gentile. There may be 38,000-plus supposed “Christian” sects and denominations, but there is only one Body of Christ, and only those people in the Body of Christ can be rightfully and Scripturally be called Christians. Someone can be a member of a local church, but only being a member of the Church the Body of Christ counts for eternity!
(Romans 7:6; Romans 8:9-16,26,27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-16; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 2 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 11:3,4; Galatians 4:6; Galatians 5:16-18; Ephesians 1:13; et al.)
The Holy Spirit is not “God’s active force,” as some groups claim. He is a Person, a member of the Godhead (along with God the Father and God the Son Jesus Christ). We understand that the Holy Spirit works differently than in the manner in which He worked in time past. The Holy Spirit indwells genuine Christians today (in time past, He did not dwell inside believers). The moment we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation, the Holy Spirit places us into the Body of Christ and He indwells us. He enlightens our hearts and minds so that we comprehend God’s Word and He empowers us to live a life pleasing in God’s sight. The Holy Spirit has taken the place of the Mosaic Law, “the letter,” the Ten Commandments that led Jewish believers’ lives in time past. The Holy Spirit, in unison with Jesus Christ, also intercedes for us to God the Father. Now that the written Word of God (Bible) is complete, the Holy Spirit does not communicate with us in an audible voice, in visions, dreams, or tongues.
ONE HOPE OF OUR CALLING
(Romans 5:2; Galatians 5:5; Ephesians 2:6,7; Colossians 1:5, 23; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; 1 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:2; Titus 2:13; Titus 3:7; et al.)
In the above verses, “hope” is not “I hope things get better.” “Hope,” as the Bible speaks of it here, is referring to a firm assurance of something we are eagerly awaiting, although we cannot see it. Our ultimate hope is the security we have in the Lord Jesus Christ: the Bible even calls Jesus Christ “our hope.” Provided that we have been genuinely saved—having trusted Christ Jesus alone as Saviour—we have a home in heaven, eternal life, and one day we will personally meet our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Bible says we should be rejoicing in this hope! Yes, it is hard to patiently wait for that blessed hope, but we must stay here doing the Lord’s work until He catches us away at the rapture, to place us in the governments of the heavens to rule their for His glory for all eternity. Paul also spoke of his hope to one day see those Christians he converted and taught, being brought before the Judgment Seat of Christ to receive a reward! We are not hoping we are saved; we have hope in what is to come now that we are saved.
(Romans 5:1,2; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 5:16; Ephesians 3:11,12; Philippians 3:20,21; 1 Timothy 2:5; et al.)
The Bible is clear that there is one Mediator between God and men, and this is the man Christ Jesus. Only the Lord Jesus Christ is capable of restoring your fellowship with God; this excludes any religious prophet of the world. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only being who is both fully God and fully man, enabling Him to re-connect man with God. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God; that is, God manifest in the flesh. According to the nation Israel, Jesus Christ was their Redeemer and King; however, from our perspective in the Dispensation of Grace, Jesus Christ is not the King of the Church, but rather the Head of the Body of Christ. We follow Jesus Christ according to Paul’s epistles; we do not follow Jesus Christ after His earthly ministry, which was His ministry to Israel.
(Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16, 20; Galatians 3:22; Ephesians 3:12; Philippians 3:9; et al.)
Again, Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. As a man, He could have faith in God the Father’s will. The Old Testament prophesied of the coming Messiah; Jesus Christ willingly became a man, showing obedience to the Father. There are times when our faith grows weak, and every believer will doubt God’s Word at times. But, the faith of Jesus Christ never wavered or grew weak; He always knew that the Father sent Him, He always listened to the Father, and He had faith that the Father would bring Him through whatever He would face. The faith of Jesus Christ refers to Him going through and allowing the Jews and Romans to kill Him. Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary—His bloodshed, death, burial, and resurrection—is HIS FAITH! Now that we have placed our faith in the faith of Christ, we are saved.
(Romans 6:3,4; 1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12,13; et al.)
Contrary to traditional and denominational thinking, the word “baptism” in the Bible does not always refer to water (there are more than one dozen “baptisms” in Scripture)! Denominations argue over mode (sprinkling, pour, immersion). They argue over who should be baptized: babies, children, adults, etc. In whose name: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or in just the name of Jesus Christ? So many water baptisms, even in pagan religions, so many modes, so much confusion, so little right division. In the Dispensation of Grace, we do not need water baptism at all—neither for salvation nor a testimony. This one baptism that we need today is when the Holy Spirit takes a newly converted Christian and places him or her into the Body of Christ, supernaturally. There is no water involved. In doing this, we are identified with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (our old nature is put to death with Christ, buried and hidden with Him forever, and we are raised again with a new identity).
ONE GOD AND FATHER OF ALL
(Romans 8:15; Romans 15:6; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3,4; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Galatians 4:1-7; Colossians 1:12; et al.)
Now, we can take this two ways. First, this is speaking against polytheism (the existence of many gods). But, the other way in looking at this runs along the lines of one Spirit and one Lord. God the Father is not operating with mankind as He did in time past. He is not dealing in chastisement when we do not listen to Him. In this Dispensation of Grace, Paul says that we cry “Abba, Father.” What does that mean? Going to Mark 14:36, we read of Jesus Christ speaking to God the Father: “And he [Christ] said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” Paul writes that today, as a son of God and a joint-heir with Christ, we have been equipped to do God’s will. The only thing we need to do is submit to His will, like Jesus Christ submitted to the Father’s will! God wants us to tell everyone about the Gospel of Grace, and He wants to submit to His working in us. How exciting!