All For One and One For All!
Many of you are familiar with the book by Alexander Dumas entitled The Three Musketeers. The heroes of that story had as their motto, “All for one and one for all”. This meant that each member of that group of men would fight for the group or for any of the others. In other words, they were vowing to stand together in their common fight. That motto has Biblical roots. When Paul calls believers to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” (Eph. 4:1), that is a call for all believers to walk in unity. Simply stated, I believe that Lord expects us, as a church family, to walk together in absolute unity for His glory. It is a divine requirement, if we are to be everything God wants us to be as a church.
So what does biblical unity look like? First, I think it is best to look at the source of biblical unity. What brings us all together? What is to be the basis for our unity? I mean, we all come to church from different backgrounds, different cultural foundations, different economic backgrounds, etc. How can we possibly find any common ground? The Apostle Paul provides us with the answer in Ephesians 4:4–7. He points out the sources of the biblical unity that Christ wants in His Church.
We must recognize the reality that as believers in Jesus Christ we share common ground. Verses 4–6 say, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” To drive home his point, Paul uses seven “one’s” to draw our focus to the source of biblical unity. He does this by turning our attention to the Godhead, the Trinity, as the example of our biblical unity as a Church. In verse 4 he highlights the Holy Spirit. In verse 5 he focuses on the Son. And in verse 6 He sets his eye on the Father.
First, we have unity through the Spirit. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling” (Eph. 4:4). There is ONE BODY in Christ, and that is the Church. Since the day of Pentecost until the day of His Second Coming, all believers in Christ are considered this one Body. There is no denominational, geographical, ethnic, or racial body. There is no Gentile, Jewish, male, female, or slave body. There is only Christ’s body, and unity comes only from being united in Him. There is only ONE SPIRIT, the Holy Spirit of God, who indwells every believer at the time of salvation. The Holy Spirit creates, fills, coordinates, orchestrates, and empowers the Body of Christ. Paul is saying, in effect, that the Spirit who has placed us in the one Body is the one who guarantees our future glory.
Second, there is common ground for every believer in Jesus Christ because there is unity in the Son. Verse 5 says, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” There is one Lord, which refers to Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 reminds us of this truth: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” If there is only one Lord, then there can only be one faith. In true Christianity there is only one faith. Jude 3 says it is a faith “which was once for all delivered to the saints” and for which we are to contend. Our one faith is the content of the revealed Word of God. All of God’s individual truths make up this one faith.
Paul then tells us that there is “one baptism” among believers. This is referring to water baptism. Water baptism is the means by which a believer publicly confesses Jesus as Savior and Lord. Water baptism was extremely important in the early church, not as a means of salvation or special blessing but as a testimony of identity with and unity in Jesus Christ. Believers are baptized in the name of Christ.
The final source of the unity or common ground for all believers in Jesus Christ is that God is our Father. The fundamental truth of the Scriptures is that “The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” (Deut. 6:4). Paul says in verse 6 of Ephesians 4, “one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” God the father is often used in Scripture as the most comprehensive and inclusive divine title, though it is clear from many New Testament texts that He is never separated in nature or power from the Son or the Holy Spirit.
Paul’s point here is not to separate the Persons of the Godhead but to note their unique roles and yet focus on the unity in relation to each other and in relation to the church.
Our one God and Father, along with the Son and the Holy Spirit, is over all and through all and in all. This verse is telling us that God is sovereign (over all), omnipotent (through all), and omnipresent (in all).
Our takeaway? This one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father is the source of our biblical unity. As we draw together as a “body” of Christ, we do so because our triune God is the source of our biblical unity. Did you notice that when Paul gave us this truth, he pointed to God. Our whole unity is wrapped up in who this triune God is! So then, beloved, as believers in Christ, even though we may come from different places and have different tastes, we all stand on common ground in the triune God. He is our identity. We walk together in harmony and unity because the God who saved us walks in harmony and unity with us in the Trinity. Ruminate on that in your heart. May we be all for one because we are one for all.