by A.E. Knoch

SOON after Paul had set forth the charter of the church in the epistle to the Ephesians, he entreats the saints to keep the unity of the spirit with the tie of peace. It consists of seven separate unities, including one body and one Lord. Today a portion of Christendom is seeking to make an organization of many bodies with many heads. They absolutely ignore the great truth that, in spirit the ecclesia already is one body, and has a Head. Union does not need to be made, but to be observed.

The "World Council of Churches," representing less than a third of nominal Christianity, split into about one hundred and sixty denominations, is seeking to make a superficial union of these sects by means of compromise and unscriptural organization. it totally ignores the unity of the spirit, which has been made by God by imparting His spirit to those whom He calls. This spirit has already united them into one body, and has made them subject to one Lord, so that, in fact, this council is denying the divine, spiritual unity, and seeking to set up spurious superficial substitute.

"Christians" today belong to many man-made Church organizations, but all who are called by God among them, who have His spirit, are members of the living organism which is figuratively called the body of Christ. He has only one body, so all have the same life and the same Lord, and there can be no other. Although the World Council cannot repeal the vital bond which holds the saints together, there is perhaps no more effective means of hindering the living body of Christ than to build an artificial corpse to take its place, made up of nominal "Christians" without the spirit, including many mistaken saints. What real fellowship can there be between these?

Immediately after Paul set forth the truth for today in the first half of Ephesians, he entreats us to walk worthily of such a rich revelation, and urges us to keep the unity of the spirit which characterizes it. That the thought of unity pervades the first part of Ephesians is shown in the expressions one new humanity (2:15), one body (2:16), both one (2:14), and joint allotment, joint body, and joint partakers (3-6). Such a unity as this is found nowhere outside of Paul's writings, or in any other administration than the present. As Christendom practically ignores this, it cannot be united except on false and fallacious premises.

The fact that the one body is a joint body shows that it was composed of two, the Circumcision and the Uncircumcision. The opening verses of Ephesians refer to the Circumcision saints. But, in the thirteenth verse, Paul includes the Uncircumcision--you also--for they had received the same earnest, the holy spirit, which is the seal of our allotment. As circumcision is a fleshly rite, and, in the new creation, the flesh is not recognized (2 Cor.5:16), this division is now ignored in the one body. It embraces all the saints, or holy ones, who have been hallowed by God's spirit. That is the one and only condition for membership in the one body. But those who lack this, as most "Christians" do, possess no divine life, so can never be members of the ecclesia which is the body of Christ.

Before Paul the main cause of disunity was the special physical supremacy of Israel. This no longer exists. Today the divisions are largely doctrinal. The so-called "Catholic" (DOWN-WHOLE) church was split when the bishopric of Rome was separated for heresy. The "Protestant" was largely a revolt against its teachings. And so the innumerable sects all of which claim to follow the Bible more closely in doctrine or practice, all fail to follow Paul's teaching for today, all feel called upon to start a new unity, and ignore Paul's plea to keep the spirit's unity with the tie of peace. The moment we make our own unity, we break that of the spirit.

As we cannot accept many of the traditions of Christendom, such as the purgatory of the Catholics, or the everlasting torment of the Protestants, and the innumerable differences between the numerous denominations, and are forced to stand alone to a large extent, and have more and clearer light on God's eonian purpose and the present secret administration, there is a strong temptation to consider ourselves superior to the rest, and to confine our fellowship to like-minded saints, and thus form another and newer sect. May we never be found guilty of erecting barriers between ourselves and other members of Christ's spiritual body!

Let us learn the lesson which this awful apostasy from the faith should teach us. The very fact that Paul entreats us to walk worthily, with humility, should show us that our calling, the highest of all, is apt to gender pride, so that we consider ourselves superior to others, and thus destroy the unity. The same seems to be implied by the exhortation to patience and forbearance. Only thus will we be able to keep the unity of the spirit. All pride due to superiority in the flesh or in knowledge is absolutely excluded when we remember the grace which was shown us in Christ before eonian times.

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