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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

October 26, 2018

United in spirit

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

The apostle Paul was concerned about maintaining unity among the believers of the first century. In his letter to the church in Ephesus, he explained the importance of a church that is one with God. Paul offers practical advice (Ephesians 4:1-3) on how to treat other fellow believers to promote the love and care of the Father and Son:

1) to live worthy of our calling; 2) to be humble and gentle; 3) to be patient with one another; 4) to be mindful of the unity that is possible among us via the work of the Spirit of God; 5) to have peace with one another.

In verses 4-6, Paul continues with the theme of unity: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." This is a description of unity and harmony, but not a description of a confusing and controversial diversity of opinion in the church on key subjects.

God also has a spirit which He makes available to those called. There is no spirit diversity as with demons, which is reflected in paganism. We are called to a certain hope for the future, not to different perspectives for the future. There is only one Lord, Jesus Christ. There are not many possible masters. There is one faith according to which we live, and one baptism, not different baptisms with different prerequisites.

For some this unity is disturbing and problematic because they feel somehow restricted, thinking that it prevents the full development of their personality or spiritual maturity. In our modern world of self-determination and diversity of opinion, where all opinions are equally important and correct, this is not an unusual point of view. But far too often we see the Word of God through the filter of this world instead of doing it the other way around.

Ephesians 4, verses 4-6 show us that a controversial diversity of opinion in the core questions of faith will not promote the unity that God desires for His people.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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