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May 16

Ephesians 4:1-16

1 Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making 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 at your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. 7 Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 For it says: When he ascended on high, he took the captives captive; he gave gifts to people. 9 But what does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower parts of the earth? 10 The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, to fill all things. 11 And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head—​Christ. 16 From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part. — Ephesians 4:1-16

Unity in Diversity: Godhead, Church, Marriage

by Paul Wilkinson
Brentwood Campus

The search for unity in diversity has been persistent in the history of Western thought since at least the time of Thales in the mid-500’s BCE. Thales tried to achieve this end through purely physical means, arguing that the universe is composed only of water, manifest in different forms.

One beauty of the Christian faith is that in the Godhead’s purest essence, the search for unity in diversity is satisfied. We worship a deity who is singular in being but exists as three persons. The soul and will are singular, the activity and personality are diverse: one being, three persons.

And that beautiful plurality of being is reflected in the unity of the church, which is full of diverse individuals with unique passions, quirks, and personalities. Yet, the church submits to one Lord and one calling. As Paul argues for one Spirit, one Lord, one God and Father, so too are the people, the church, who are called to live the kingdom and expand the kingdom. The body of Christ ought to fully exemplify unity in diversity.

Such unity is once again seen in the marriage relationship. As husband and wife come together with all their uniqueness to become “one flesh,” they live out a physical manifestation of unity in diversity. And that manifestation is reflective of the purest essence of the Triune Godhead.

May we crave the unity embodied by our God, the unity Paul craved for the people of God. May we be encouragers of one another to attain the knowledge of the Son of God, always speaking the truth in love.

Praxis

  1. Pray and reflect on your role in the local body of Christ. How are you helping the people of God, the church, to exemplify unity in diversity?
  2. Verse 12 says the saints—that is, we the people of God—are to be equipped for the work of service. What work are you being equipped for? If you are not being equipped or do not know what work to which you are called, please reach out to your group leader or a staff member to help you discern your purpose.
  3. Verse 14 says we are not to be tossed here and there by every wind of doctrine, which presupposes that you know Christian doctrine, the great truths of the gospel. Do you know if what you believe is biblical? If not, then reach out to your group leader or a staff member to help you along in learning the essential truths of the faith. Begin by reading the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message with the 1998 addition.