The denominational world is unified in error but this is not the unity Paul described in the scripture. “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment (1 Cor 1:1o). Everyone is in search of unity, but can there be true unity separate and apart from God’s Word? Paul said, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye were called in one hope of your calling; 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). In order for the “unity of the Spirit” to exist, we must accept these seven facts.
Christ is the Head of the body and He has but one body. “And he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that fills all in all” (1:22, 23). “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, being himself the savior of the body” (5:23). The one church, or body of Christ refers to all the saved. We are baptized “into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13), or “into Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27). Thus, all members make up the body of Christ, which is his church (1 Cor 12:27).
The Holy Spirit is a Divine Being, just as the Father and Son are Divine Beings. He is not the Father or the Son, but He is “God” (Jn. 14:16, 26; Acts 5:3, 4). The Spirit was to guide the apostles “into all the truth.” (Jn. 16:13). They “spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance” and later wrote the same message for us (1 Cor. 2:13 f; Eph. 3:3, 4). Jesus promised the apostles that the Spirit would guide them “into all the truth.” If he did, then there is no “new truth” being revealed, and those who claim such are teaching a “different doctrine” (Gal. 1:6-9).
All who have obeyed Christ have the same hope. Peter said that God “begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Pet. 1:3, 4). The Bible does not teach two hopes!
It is certainly true that Christ must be the “center” of our lives, as our Master, in order for unity to exist. Paul said that God raised Christ from the dead “and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places… and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that fills all in all” (Eph. 1:20-23). Jesus is the One who created heaven and earth (Jn 1:1-11). Jesus is the one who God sent to save the world (Jn 3:16). Jesus is the one who paid for the church with his death on the cross (Acts 20:28).
The word “faith” refers to that which is believed, the gospel of Christ. “A great number of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). “But before faith came, we were kept in ward under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed” (Gal. 3:23). We are sons of God “through faith” (the gospel), not by the Old Law (Gal. 3:26). We are to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). When men follow creeds, disciplines or the wisdom of men they are not following the “one faith” and unity cannot exist. Followers of Christ have one standard, one faith.
Jesus authorized baptism (immersion) “into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Mt. 28:18-20). This commission began to be executed on the day of Pentecost. On the day of Pentecost, confessed believers were told to “repent and be baptized… in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of sins. . .” (Acts 2:38). When Peter and John went to Samaria to lay hands on those who had been baptized by Philip, the record says “for as yet he (the Holy Spirit) was fallen upon none of them: only they had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:16). After Cornelius and his household had received the Holy Spirit, Peter said, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:47, 48). The men in Ephesus who had been baptized with John’s baptism were told to be “baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.” Then Paul laid his hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:5, 6). Baptism “in the name of Christ” is for the remission of sins, in water, and is not Holy Spirit baptism!
The “one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all” is God the Father. He is sovereign (“over all”), everywhere present (“through all”), and constantly abides with His people (“in all”). He is the object of our worship, and we must “worship him in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24). Those who are “in Christ” are “children of God” (Gal. 3:26, 27). The fact that we have a common Father should produce unity.
Conclusion: . When men decide that they will be united with those who believe in “many gods” or “many baptisms,” they are not striving for the “unity of the Spirit.” The same Bible that says “one Lord” says “one faith” and “one baptism”. This is the great commission which Jesus gave to his apostles after his death. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned (Mk 16:16). We can only enjoy the one hope that the Spirit has revealed by being baptized into the one church, the church of Christ, and follow the one faith, the gospel of Christ, that the Godhead has made possible by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:1-4).