Ephesians 4:4-6

“There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.”

This is a short section, but there is a lot to unpack here. Everything Paul writes for the rest of his letter goes back to his exhortation at the beginning of this chapter for them to live lives worthy of the calling they have received. That exhortation is for all of us believers. How do we live that life? In my last post, we discussed humility, patience, and bearing with one another in love. Because we have the Holy Spirit, we can keep unity.

He goes on here in verse four to talk again about the unity of the church body and the Holy Spirit. He uses the word “one” seven times in verses 3 through 6! There is one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all. We’ll look at each one of these.

The first thing Paul says is that there is one body and one Spirit.  The church is one body precisely because there is one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13 says, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body- whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free- and we were all given one Spirit to drink.” The church as a universal body, and even as individual congregations, will have disagreements. But at its core, as long as the church has the Spirit of God, there will be unity. I loved what Ray Stedman had to say about this in his sermon. He said that the strength of the church was not in its numbers. It is strong only because of the Spirit of God. He said, “That is why the church is not dependent on many or few, or on the wisdom of its membership. It depends on one thing, the one Spirit.”

Next, Paul mentions one Lord. He covers the three persons of the Trinity in this passage. We have already covered the Holy Spirit. Here, he is writing about Jesus Christ. The hope, faith, and baptism all relate to Jesus. Paul used the phrase ‘in Christ’ many times in his letters to Ephesus. I looked it up and it says he used the phrase or its equivalence 27 times! It is through Jesus that we have access to God the Father. It is essential that we understand that there is one Lord.

Paul uses the phrase “just as you were called to one hope at your calling.” He used a similar phrase in verse 1. He said, “live worthy of the calling you have received.” The ESV says “the calling to which you have been called.” So our goal is to walk worthy of this calling. And we are called to one hope. What is our hope? In Colossians, Paul writes, “God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). 1 John 3:2-3 says “Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when he appears we will be like him because we will see him as he is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure.” The last verse I’ll share is Titus 3: 6-7. “He poured out his spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.” There are so many verses on our hope in Christ!

He says there is one faith. Jesus is the object of our faith. In Acts, Paul gives his testimony, and he says, “I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:21). Galatians 2:20 says “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

We have one baptism. Although we have disunity over the ‘how’, there is unity over ‘what’ it symbolizes. I’ll tell a story that I look back on now and laugh. My first years were spent at a Baptist Church. We moved to a Presbyterian Church when I was in the third grade. I was fortunate to have wonderful Bible teachers and youth leaders at Canoga Park Presbyterian Church. I wasn’t baptized before we left the Baptist Church, and my parents wanted me immersed rather than sprinkled (one of the differences in the denominations). Our pastor at the time didn’t have a problem with that, but we never got around to me being baptized. When I was in the 8th grade, I went to a Christian School for the year and the principal, who only lasted that one year, told us that if you weren’t baptized you weren’t saved. I remember asking him “What about the thief on the cross?” I knew that nothing I could do could earn my salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). But to get back to my story, our youth group watched the movie “A Thief in the Night.” It was a movie designed to scare people into salvation. You can look it up online if you aren’t familiar with it. It scared me enough that I had my brother baptize me by sprinkling in the kitchen sink when we got home! I knew better, but that was a scary movie! I was finally officially baptized when I was 22 and we started attending the church we attended for over thirty years. I’ll restate the verse in 1 Corinthians that says we are all baptized into one body. That is what baptism symbolizes so however you do it, by sprinkling or immersion, it’s an outward symbol of an inward action.

Paul concludes with “one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” We are all one family because there is one God. He is the God of all things. We can look at Ephesians 1:4-6. He chose us before the foundation of the world. We have a father who loves us. He is above all things. Chapter 1: 20-21 reminds us that he is above all rulers and authorities, powers and dominions, and every title given. God is through all things. Ephesians 3: 9-10 says that God’s multi-faceted wisdom may be made known through the church. And lastly, he is in all things. Ephesians 2:22 says, “In him you are also being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.” I’m going to paraphrase what John Piper says in his Desiring God Look at the Book workshops on Ephesians about that last verse. He says God is the Father of all. We long to belong, and we do. He is the God over all. We long for security, and we have it because he is over everything. God is through all. We long for purpose, and in Christ he gives it to us. We want our lives to count for something more than just this world. And we long for riches and treasure, and we have those in Christ.

Paul has stressed the importance of unity in these three verses. The only way we can do it is with the Holy Spirit. I am going to close with this verse. “Above all, put on love which is the perfect bond of unity” Colossians 3:14.

Grace be with you!


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One response to “Ephesians 4:4-6”

  1. The thief in the night! Oh my… truly a great “get saved because we scared you into it movie” I thought you guys were there when I was in 1st grade oh boy. You have a far better memory than I 😊


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