The Nature of Our Oneness in Ephesians 4
The oneness of
the Body of Christ
cannot be organized;
it is entirely a matter of
our being in the Spirit and
growing in Christ.
On the night He was betrayed, the Lord prayed for His disciples,
…they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
— John 17:21
How He desires that we would be one in Him! And no other chapter of the Bible shows us how to realize this oneness like Ephesians 4 does; I encourage you to take the time to read this chapter even now.
In Ephesians 4 we see that the genuine oneness of the Body of Christ must be entirely organic. While there is the matter of some organization and administration in a local church, in the unique Body of Christ, which is the spiritual content of the local churches, there is none. Here our oneness is entirely a matter of the Spirit and of Christ.
At the beginning of Ephesians 4 the apostle urges us to exercise the virtues of Christ in order to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace (v. 3). Later, He tells us we need to
…attain to the oneness of the faith and of the full knowledge of the Son of God, at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
— Ephesians 4:13
Only when we are so focused on Christ Himself will we “no longer be infants,” as he says,
…tossed by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching in the deceit of men, in craftiness, with the wiles of a system of error.
Instead, as he goes on to say,
…holding to truth in love, we [will] grow up into Him in all things who is the Head, Christ.
— Ephesians 4:15
There is nothing here about a oneness of administration or hierarchy or organization; if we seek to create a kind of oneness among believers by focusing on such things, the result will only be more divisions, as the history of the professing church has shown over and over again.
Instead, as Ephesians 4 shows us, when it comes to keeping and realizing the genuine oneness among the believers, everything depends on our staying in the Spirit and growing in our relationship with Christ. We keep the oneness of the Spirit; we attain to the full knowledge of the Son of God; and eventually, we grow up into Christ as our Head.
So, I will say once again, the basic, fundamental reason for the divisions among believers today is our lack of growth in Christ. (See “The Basic Factor of the Divisions Among Christians.”) Only when we are focused on the Spirit and on Christ can the genuine oneness of the Body of Christ can be realized in a practical way.
And when that does happen, the Lord’s prayer for His believers to be one will finally be answered, and He will have His testimony upon the earth.
Sent to our mailing list on
— 4 November 2023 —