Unity of the Spirit

Ephesians 4 is a very beautiful chapter.  Paul is telling us how to live together in unity and peace.  There is much good instruction here.  However, I don’t notice anywhere here that he says we should all believe exactly the same thing about everything. In verse 4 he says

“Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  

That sounds nice doesn’t it.  We are to be in peace and harmony with one another and this brings us into the unity of the spirit.  There is no talk here of everyone being forced to admit that they believe everything the way some corporate body teaches it.  That is not to say that correct teaching is not important.  However, it is impossible for everyone in the world to believe the exact same things about everything.  There are some things that we must believe, and that is that Jesus is the Son of God and he died for our salvation. There are key points in this that are very important.  Ye must be born again. However, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, it might be important, but not essential to salvation, the way we believe on many other points. In this matter it is important that we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.

Peace.  That is very important.  In the business of demanding unity in belief and practice, we often make the mistake of losing our peace.  We begin to pass judgment, disfellowship and condemn those who are loving God with all of their hearts. How can we be doing this and yet keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace?  Let us look further into the chapter:

v. 7  “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”

That’s very interesting.  To every one of us.  Not to some, or those who admit to a certain belief, but to every one of us.  Can we recognize and acknowledge the grace of God in our fellow Christians, or do we feel compelled to snatch it back from those who see things differently than we do?  There are differences of opinion often, but these are not reason to break fellowship.  There is something beautiful in loving all people. It warms our hearts and draws us closer to God. Why do some of us take pleasure in judging others and setting them aside?  Is it because in so doing we elevate ourselves and feel so much better about our position?  Maybe we need a good lesson in humility and peace.

v. 13 says “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”

Coming to this perfection, this fulness of Christ is a beautiful milestone.  We do this as we come to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God.  We do not do it as we judge and eliminate all who do not receive our opinion of things.  We do not come into perfection and the fulness of Christ as we exclude and shun.  Judge, exclude, shun, etc, are negative terms.  Our lives should be lived in the context of positive terms, such as peace, love, acceptance, faith, knowledge, etc.  I believe our lives should be defined in positive terms, rather than negative terms.  I think we should be able to admit that we fellowshipped with a large number of Christians in the last year, and perhaps learned from them, rather than to boast that we benched 20 ministers, expelled 500 people, and made a quantity of new rules. Does  anyone agree with me?

In Ephesians 4 Paul gives a very good outline of what it means to be a Christian. It should not be too hard to understand.  There are many teachings that are important, but unless we can keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, these things amount to very little.  Being right is not the most important thing.  Excluding others is very questionable. Loving one another, with tenderness and kindness is of great value.  The next time your ministers ask you to participate in passing judgment on someone for a difference of opinion, stop and think very carefully about what you are doing.  This 4th chapter of Ephesians tells us that we are to be fitly joined together in love.  Ponder whether or not it is truly love that leads us to examine a brother under a microscope, find a fault, and then send him out of the church because he does not line up with our idea of what is right.  This happens, my friends, and you know it’s true.

The last two verses of the chapter leave us with very good advice;

v. 31, 32.   “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

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8 Responses to Unity of the Spirit

  1. The Holdemans teach that there is to be no schism in the body. (The Bible does of course state this, but I disagree with the way the Holdemans interpret it) They believe that by hacking off the parts of the body that they deem to be displeasing, they are preventing schism. They believe that if they remove all who might have a dissenting thought, that they have eliminated schism. Quite the contrary, they have simply taken a machete to the Body of Christ. Carving off the parts that do not please us does not mean that we have prevented schism; rather it means we have created schism. This means that we have cut off God’s children and sent them in all kinds of scattered directions. I do not advocate fellowshipping with those who are far from truth in doctrine or practice, but even then are we to fear them? Ephesians 4:14 says “That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”

    We are to be mature Christians, well versed in the Word of God, not children who ae easily deceived. Why do so many fear deception so greatly? Are they weak in their faith? Are they not mature Christians? A mature Christian should be eager to be exposed to those who are weaker, in the belief that in his strength and maturity he can win them, instead of believing that they will cause him to fall for their false doctrine. A great deal of wrong teaching has been done on this matter.

  2. handlebar pete says:

    After perusing some of your posts, Hiram, I am wondering if you follow your advice, particularly in your statement “There is something beautiful in loving all people”. You go on to say “Why do some of us take pleasure in judging others and setting them aside? Is it because in so doing we elevate ourselves and feel so much better about our position? Maybe we need a good lesson in humility and peace”. I would like to encourage you to enroll in that ‘good lesson of humility and peace’. And in your condeming the so-called ‘Holdeman Church’ that you be careful that you are not condeming yourself entirely. Words from a bitter and offended person will always be distorted. I think that you would do well to carefully look at both sides of any issue. There is always two sides to every story. The underlying view in your writings appears extremely one-sided. Please do not create facts from one or two people’s opinions. (And no, I have not read all your posts, so maybe my fears for your blog aren’t entirely researched) I hope that you can confirm God’s peace in your life as you journey into the new year. That is my wish for myself.

    • Thanks Pete. Your concerns are well taken. I don’t equate myself with Jesus, but do you recall that in the Bible he made a multitude of blistering attacks upon the Scribes and Pharisees, calling them whited sepulchers, generation of vipers. It is one thing to point out the abusive nature of a group of people who are leading others astray and doing it in an attitude of self righteousness and piety, and being the ones who are doing it. I do not excommunicate people and ruin their lives. I am not preaching false doctrine to a congregation who is completely under mind control. I like the way you make this statement…”Words from a bitter and offended person will always be distorted. I think that you would do well to carefully look at both sides of an issue. There is always two sides to every story. The underlying view in your writings appears to be extremely one-sided. Please do not create facts from one or two people’s opinions.”

      If you see an example of me creating facts from one or two people’s opinion, please point it out. My posts are very scripturally based, and the issues that I discuss are matters of public knowledge. Do you have evidence that I am listening to bitter and offended people? I’ve noticed that whenever someone wants to discredit anyone who points out error in the Holdemans, they drag out the words bitter and offended. You reprove me and yet, I must direct a reproof at you. When you have something real to say, say it. Don’t trigger the mind control effect in people by saying “bitter and offended.” Once again, I must repeat, if you have a specific complaint, please bring it forward. These vague and weak comments fail to have much effect on me.

    • lotsaquestions says:

      I have been reading these posts since the start. handlebar, I haven’t found them to be onesided at all. They are well studied and well written with many sides exposed. I think Hiram has said that he receives quite a bit of info from emails, etc and trys to make fair judgement. i too am wondering why bitter and offended are always the descriptive words used to place on people that have brains of their own and think for themselves.

  3. And furthermore, I wonder why so many former church members are “bitter and offended?” Why do people leave in this state? Is there perhaps something that the church can see in this? People should leave willingly, of their own accord and be at peace with it, or they should stay. Instead, the truth is that many leave under a cloud of injustice, confusion, and pain at the strict ban that is then placed on them. In light of the fact that they have been judged lost,is it any wonder that they then become a bit miffed? Shouldn’t that be expected of one who is lost and out of relationship with God? It seems to me that it would be in place for the church members to do anything possible to win these people back, rather than marginalizing them and labeling them and driving them further away. Very strange. Very strange indeed.

  4. cagedbutterfly says:

    Bitter and especially offended are the the holdeman pet sins. So many people that leave the church and even members who are struggling with issues get that label very quickly. I have wondered for years why the offended are so wrong but the offender…….well we next to never hear about that! The Bible I read has something in it on being the offender! Handlebar, if you’ve ever sat in front of a group of the “men in black” and had judgement placed on you,I think your questions about what Bro. Hiram writes would be fewer. I find his posts so amazingly true and very relevant.

  5. Jude says:

    If there were a one true church of God, surely it would not need defending. Surely God is powerful to defend his only people, without help from man. What is being said here is very true. Often it seems the reaction to criticism of the Holdeman church is the same as when someone spit on the idol, among idol worshipers. If the idol was indeed so powerful, why not let the idol carry out punishment? Because in reality, it was not the idol being defended, but rather the fact that someone dared speak the truth. One person dashing the hopeful dreams and fantasies of many,, so he would then be eliminated. This is why people are being excommunicated for asking questions about the church. The congregation submissively votes to expel, while harboring the same questions themselves. Its a sad state of affairs.

    • ~Set Free says:

      Even the scribes and Pharasees recognized a fair trial. Whether they gave it or not is a question in my mind and I haven’t thought it out all that far but I do remember a verse somewhere alluding to it. Romans 14:13 KJV Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
      John 7:51 KJV Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
      Rather obvious you won’t get a fair jury trial the way the mind control is most of the time ? Ocassionally it’s different , I’ve seen it a few times, but it’s the rarity and not the norm.

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