One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism

Hello everyone. Tonight, we’re going to resume our study of the doctrine of the Trinity. We’re in the Pauline epistles now and we’ve got the first four behind us. Right now, we’re in Ephesians 4. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at the first six verses with an emphasis on the last verse.

1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Paul is making a plea for unity in the church, something that I think we all agree is definitely needed. However, why are we to have unity? Unity is to be for the right reasons. The Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim to have unity, but then it’d be easy to have unity if you simply considered all people who disagreed with you to be non-Mormons or non-Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Christians are allowed some leeway in their freedom to believe. You must believe some things to be a Christian, but you don’t have to believe everything correctly. You don’t have to have the correct eschatology or soteriology or view on charismata or the age of the Earth. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek to have the correct views, but they are non-essentials. As long as you don’t deny essentials, you are fine.

And one of those essentials, of course, is the Trinity which we’re studying now. I recently had someone say to me, “Well some Christians study the Bible and they don’t believe in the doctrine of the Trinity.” There is no such thing. If they deny the Trinity, then I have no basis to call them Christian. Let it be known I’m not saying that they have to affirm the doctrine however. A small child saved does not have to quote the church creeds to be Christian, but I believe within that child’s salvation is an implicit knowledge of the Trinity that he has yet to study.

This unity also comes because there is one Lord. There is Jesus Christ. He is the Lord. Paul saying one Lord could very well be referring back to the Shema. To include Christ in the Shema as he did in 1 Cor. 8:6 would be to show that for Paul, Christ is within the divine identity. He is fully God.

Notice that this doesn’t detract from the deity of the Father either. Paul could say that Jesus is the one Lord and the Father is the one God. Both are terms of deity. The Lordship of Christ and the Father being God are both connected. Paul is using different terminology to distinguish the two, but he is not taking away from the deity of either.

Why the unity then? Because of the Trinity. The one Father and the one Son and the one Spirit are in a unity. Since the Trinity is in unity, then the church which is to represent YHWH on Earth also ought to be in unity.

Are we?

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