SEVEN PILLARS OF UNITY

Seven pillars of unity are found in Ephesians. Merrill Unger calls Ephesians 4:4-6 a description of "scriptural ecumenicity." In our day when some seek organizational unity on the basis of the lowest common denominator, this passage outlines the nature of true Christian oneness. (Note that all three Persons of the Trinity are involved.)

1) "One body." The universal church is a spiritual entity made up of all born again believers from Pentecost to the coming rapture of the church. All are part of "the whole family in heaven and earth" (Eph. 3:14-15). All Christians, in other words, described as "those who are Christ's" (I Cor. 15:23), and including "the dead in Christ" (I Thess. 4:16).

2) "One Spirit." The Holy Spirit who indwells each individual believer and is at work in and through the body of Christ (Eph. 1:12-14; cf. Rom. 8:9).

3) "One hope of your calling." This likely refers to the believer's hope of ultimate perfection in Christlikeness (vs. 13; cf. Col. 1:27, "Christ in you, the hope of glory"). Our progressive sanctification is also the work of the Holy Spirit (II Cor. 3:18).

4) "One Lord." The Lord Jesus Christ, who is both our Saviour and the Head of the body (Eph. 1:22-23). (Note that this is the central reality of the seven.)

5) "One faith." One way of salvation--for Jew and Gentile--personal faith in the finished work of Christ. Others suggest Paul may mean the body of truth in which we put our faith (Jude 1:3; cf. Paul's testimony, "I have kept the faith," II Tim. 4:7).

6) "One baptism." The baptism of the Spirit (I Cor. 12:12-13; Gal. 3:26-28) occurring at the time of conversion, by which we are united to Christ and to one another as Christians. (Water baptism is not another baptism, but rather a symbolic representation of the spiritual reality. It pictures our identification with Christ (Rom. 6:3-4), but it does not initiate or affect it.)

7) "One God and Father" (or one God even the Father), who is the "Father of all [believers]" and "in you all" (cf. Jn. 14:23).