Books of Bible
Unity of the Faith
By Louis Rushmore
Religious leaders write and preach, "We have not arrived — we don't have the unity of the faith yet." Although maybe highly educated, those who espouse some such sentiment could not be more wrong. Further, words like these are really blasphemous and pose great potential harm to the church.
The biblical phrase to which reference is made appears in Ephesians 4:13, in the context of verses 11-14. Much like the context of 1 Corinthians 13:8-13, the Ephesians 4:11-14 passage teaches the then partial revelations of God were to be replaced with complete, permanent revelations. Namely, the ministry of miraculously endowed apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Eph. 4:11) was coming to an end.
"Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away" (1Cor. 13:8-10).
Partial revelations persisted "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph 4:13). The "unity of the faith" here addressed is equal to "that which is perfect" (1 Cor. 8:10) or "the perfect law of liberty" (Jam. 1:25; 2:12). "Unity of the faith" is also synonymous with "the faith which was once delivered" (Jude 3), "the law of faith" (Rom. 3:27), "the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2), "the gospel of Christ" (Rom. 1:16), "the doctrine of Christ" (2 John 9) and "the new testament" (Heb. 9:15).
Truly, the "unity of the faith" is available today. It is, however, quite another matter whether Christians and others abide therein. The "unity of the Spirit" (Eph. 4:3) was comprised of partial, miracle-assisted revelations and has been replaced with the "unity of the faith" (complete, written-down revelations). The teaching and doctrine are the same regarding either "the unity of the Spirit" or "the unity of the faith":
"There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Eph. 4:4-6).
Yes, we should practice unity, based on the unity of the faith which we do have at our disposal (the Bible). "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psa. 133:1). It is a gross mistake to affirm we do not have "the unity of the faith" simply because religious division exists. Claiming "the unity of the faith" is elusive today is a wholly faulty proposition, the prime purpose of which is often to approve doctrinal errors.
The "unity of the faith" is not elusive; we have it; it is also available to all. Now, is high time to be obedient to the faith (Rom. 1:5; 16:26). Reject wrestled interpretations (2 Pet. 1:20; 3:16). Accept only "the doctrine of Christ" (2 John 9-11). Refuse modified Gospels (Gal. 1:6-9). Examine the prophets (1 John 4:1). Decry union or fellowship with those who will not subscribe to "the unity of the faith."
Rejoice, we do have "the unity of the faith." Now, may we all abide in it, whereby we may also practice unity.