The Apostle continues to tell us what we have in common with our fellow Christians.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Verse 5 provides three terse statements, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Each provides a profound reason for recognising the significance of our fellow believers in our life before God.
Firstly, we have one Lord. We all bow to the one God and call him our Lord. He is our glorious Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. More specifically we each acknowledge Jesus as the Lord of our life. He is the one who loved us and gave himself for us. We have no other hope apart from him for forgiveness and reconciliation to our creator. We bow to him as the one who provides eternal life. Each of us is under his lordship and we accept direction from him. We serve him primarily even when serving others. This has important implications in our dealings with our fellow Christians. We are dealing with people whom Christ served in his life, death and resurrection. If Jesus served them, then who are we to lord it over them. They are people we are to love and honour as very special to our Lord Jesus.
Secondly, we have one faith. Faith can have one of two senses in a context like this. It can either mean “the faith”, the system of beliefs held by Christians. Alternatively, it can simply mean the blessing of entrusting our lives to Jesus. Whichever way we want to take it here, we have it in common with other Christians. We have all, being Christians, believed that Jesus came to save sinners through his life, death and resurrection. We together rely on Jesus and have the same hopes and joys. Importantly, we must also recognise we all have the same struggles, doubts, fears, confusions and failures. Walking worthily of the calling we have from our Lord will then involve being very gracious to our fellow strugglers who have the same faith as we do.
Thirdly, we have one baptism. Baptism symbolises our unity with Christ and more specifically that we are cleansed from our sin. In Christ we have a new life. We rejoice in it individually, but we share this with all others who believe as we do. We have each died with him and risen to new life with him. As we read in Romans 6:11 we are then to reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to righteousness. It takes the form of “you are, be what you are” and provides the great stimulus for Christian living. We know how precious it is to be encouraged in these realities and it is a delightful implication of us having “one baptism” that we encourage one another with this truth.
Christians have Christ in common and a whole range of blessings. In common we have all the same problems because we are sinful humans. Let us encourage one another.
Prayer: Loving Father, thank you for all that we have in common as your people. Help us to patient, gracious and loving to one another as we struggle to serve you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
A song to listen to: Living Hope
Living Church – Creek Road