“One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).
All Christians have a common Lord, common beliefs, and a common public testimony.
Yesterday we looked at what Christians have in common through the Spirit. Today’s verse teaches us what we share through Christ.
Christians have only “one Lord,” the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 says, “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.” Paul says in Romans 10:12, “There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all.”
Our “one faith” is simply the content of what the revealed Word of God tells us we are to believe. And the primary focus of the Scriptures is Christ. Though we have many denominations and congregations, there’s only one true Christian faith. This faith is what Jude refers to in verse 3 of his epistle: “Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
Why then do churches differ so much in what they teach? Some of it comes from inadequate study or lack of diligence. Some is from unexamined tradition. The fundamental problem, though, is our humanness—we are fallen, fallible people, and that can color our understanding of Scripture. That’s why it’s so important we not hold too tightly to “our brand” of Christianity, but instead always think matters through biblically and discuss them courteously.
Christians also have “one baptism.” This does not refer to Spirit baptism because that was implied in Ephesians 4:4 with the words “one body.” (As 1 Corinthians 12:13 explains, we all were placed into the Body of Christ by the baptism of the Spirit.) “One baptism” in verse 5 refers to water baptism. When someone comes to believe in the only true Lord, he should be baptized as a public expression of his faith. Public baptism was an essential part of the early church’s testimony to the world. It is no less essential today.
Suggestions for Prayer
Thank God for our Lord Jesus Christ, for our common Christian faith, and for our baptism, by which we identify ourselves with Christ and His people.
For Further Study
- The church at Corinth did not understand our oneness as believers. Read Paul’s description of them in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. What were the symptoms of their divisions?
- What did Paul command them to do?
- If there are divisions in your church, find ways that you can be a peacemaker.
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.