God’s Good Word: Ephesians 4:1-6

In the previous examinations of God’s good word in the book of Ephesians, we saw that Paul gave a very important but somewhat general description of God’s church.  Christ’s body is composed of both Jew and Gentile who have been redeemed through His shed blood and made joint heirs with Him.  Believers in Jesus Christ are filled with the Holy Spirit and our faith in Him is founded upon the testimony about Christ given to us through the apostles and prophets recorded in the Bible.  We have access to God through Christ and Christ Jesus actually dwells in our hearts by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit through faith built upon the Holy Word of God.  Such we are as the beloved of God, His church, a dwelling place of God in the Holy Spirit.  Since we are the beloved of God, the Holy Spirit, through the apostle Paul pleads with us to show the evidence of the life of Christ within us in very specific ways as His redeemed, called-out, holy ones.

1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of 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 you all.  Ephesians 4:1-6

As believers in Jesus Christ, His church, one of our main purposes is to be unified with one another.  This unity is expressed towards one another through humble, patient, loving tenderness given to one another.  We are brethren and should treat each other with the utmost regard in the bonds of holy familial affection.  This positive exhortation from Paul is then tempered with the admonition that the unity he is referring to, by the power of the Holy Spirit, is sourced solely in the truth.  Without the truth of the Bible as the foundation of our fellowship, there can be no genuine unity.

God lets us know there is only one body and one Spirit.  This one body, by the power of the Holy Spirit, is built upon faith in the risen Savior Jesus Christ who has promised eternal life to all who believe, the one hope of our calling.  Beloved of the Lord, the definition of the church given here excludes the majority of visible Christianity.  This doctrine of the church specifies that there is one faith in one Lord, not many different faiths in many different lords.  Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ makes any believer a member of Christ’s body, but we have to make sure this faith is centered upon the person of Jesus Christ as taught in the Holy Scriptures.  This is so crucial that we are commanded by God not to welcome anyone who does not hold to the biblical doctrines about Jesus Christ.

6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments.  This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.  7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.  This is a deceiver and an antichrist.  8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.  9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God.  He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.  10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.  2 John 6-11

If we join with unbelievers and call them members of Christ’s body we are furthering the work of the evil one.  Many, many high profile Christian leaders have done this very thing.  Billy Graham loves the Pope and loves modernists both of whom deny the biblical doctrines about Jesus Christ.  His son, Franklin, continues in the same vein as his father.  Much of the reformed church, and their teachers, love C. S. Lewis and promote his books.  Lewis denied the inerrancy of the Word of God and denied what the Scriptures teach about Christ’s work on the cross.  He denied the truth about the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the origin of sin which plagues this world.  He denied that Jesus Christ was the propitiation for our sins, by stating the Jesus paid our debt, but didn’t take our punishment.   Ravi Zecharias, influenced by Lewis has spoken with Mormons in recent conferences (2004 and 2014) in the effort to share the gospel, without warning about the grave errors or Mormonism,  and to stop the cultural slide of our country into greater secularism.  What is the fruit of this and previous meetings with the Mormons?  Have they repented of their unbelief and idolatry?  This is important because the separation that exists between believers and unbelievers is being attacked through this effort to join forces with a false church that preaches a false gospel that condemns and does not save.  What did God say through Paul about false gospels?

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.  8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.  10 For do I now persuade men, or God?  Or do I seek to please men?  For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.  Galatians 1:6-10

The gospel of Jesus Christ as laid down in the Holy Scriptures is the only gospel that saves all who believe.  There is no other gospel.  The Mormon church, Jehovah Witnesses, and Seventh Day Adventists preach a different gospel and a false christ.  The Catholic and Orthodox churches preach a different gospel and a false christ.  The Reformed church that embraces works righteousness or Calvinism preaches a different gospel.  The mainline churches preach a different gospel and a false christ.  Liberals within in the visible church preach a different gospel and believe in a false christ.  The Dominists and the church growth movement of Bill Hybels and Rick Warren preach a different gospel and a false christ.  The name it and claim it prosperity preachers preach a different gospel and a false christ.  The emergent and contemplative movements within the evangelical church preach a different gospel and teach a false christ.  The charismatic movement enamored with signs and wonders, like Bethel and Hillsong churches preach a different gospel and a false christ.  Neo-evangelicals, through ecumenism and love of intellectual prowess, compromise with those who believe a false gospel and so they undermine the gospel of Jesus Christ and promote apostasy. Finally, within the visible church, those who misinterpret Scripture, receive “words from the Lord”, or promote self-love, preach a different gospel.  Genuine believers in Jesus Christ are not in unity with these aberrations of the faith and we must not join with them or work with them in any manner, to do so promotes the work of the devil.

Only those who have repented of their sins and believed in Jesus Christ and trusted in His finished work on the cross for the forgiveness of their sins and His resurrection from the dead for their justification, (His resurrection proving His death and shedding of blood was efficacious for the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation of the redeemed sinner to God the Father and that He is God the Son of God), being filled with His Holy Spirit, have God the Father who reigns from on high working for their good and dwelling within them.  No other people can make this claim.  As believers in Jesus Christ, we are united and must keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace through our mutual humble love for one another that is built upon the truth of the Scriptures and focused upon Jesus Christ.  Amen!

4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of 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 you all.  Ephesians 4:4-6

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Romans 8:28-29

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.  3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received:  that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve.  1 Corinthians 15:1-5

Lord Jesus Christ we are Your called out ones through faith in the gospel and so we are united through faith in You.  May our unity be observable to the world as we hold fast to the truth of Your Word, so the world may know God the Father sent You as Savior of the World.  Amen!

http://www.wayoflife.org/database/evangelicals_and_mormons.html

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7 Responses to God’s Good Word: Ephesians 4:1-6

  1. Kristi Ann says:

    Amen Sister in Christ Jesus-Yeshua Eliza!!

    Merry CHRISTmas to all my Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus-Yeshua!!

    Love ❤ Always and Shalom Everyone,

    Kristi Ann

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sherry says:

    Eliza, I must ask! How is Calvinism in error? My understanding is that his teaching is strictly biblical-that teaching being about the election of us by God and that salvation is all of God’s work and none of us. Doctrine of Election… Is there something to watch out for? You helped where C.S. Lewis was concerned so I know you will help me here with Calvin. Last night I discovered he was an avowed Romanist yet he and Luther were similar in their criticisms of the popish church.

    Also, thank you for your post on the Doctrine of Salvation posted back in 2013. I was researching about Lordship salvation and repentance and faith-some say that repentance is not necessary for salvation of which I knew was not right-it just got me the other day to see a beloved teacher of God’s Word go that direction though he should surely know better. I’m glad to get my bearings back, so to speak, by your post and the comments made. It seems we need to watch even those we thought were sound. Do they get bored with the old paths? 😕

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eliza says:

    Thank you, Sherry, for your encouraging comments.

    An acquaintance recently passed away and the family had a ministry that one could contribute to in lieu of flowers. I checked out the site, and while much of what they said was good, they too disputed the need to repent and believe the gospel. Of course, I cannot give to that ministry, sad to say. Additionally, I remember speaking with this dear man about the need to repent and believe the gospel. If Jesus Christ preached it, we need to believe it; Paul gave a clear definition of repentance in the book of Acts, chapter 26.

    14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14-15

    17 ‘I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ 19 “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. Acts 26:17-20

    Jesus said we must repent and believe the gospel, and His apostle, Paul, defined repentance as doing works befitting repentance, in other words godly living rather than sinful living. There are just too many places in the Scriptures where we are warned that those who live doing the works of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God. It is somewhat disconcerting why there should be any controversy about this biblical doctrine.

    Calvinism is founded to a large extent upon the teachings of Augustine. Augustine was a heretic. He is considered a father of the Catholic church because of what he taught, and much that Augustine championed is also championed by Calvin, including infant baptism. In this false teaching Calvin teaches a form of universalism. Here are the quotes from his work, The Institutes of the Christian Religion which reveal his heresy:

    Here is part of a reply to comment about Calvin and his teaching on infant baptism:

    Now we can see without difficulty the similarity and the difference of these two signs. The promise (in which we have shown the power of the signs to consist) is the same in both, namely, that of God’s fatherly favor, of forgiveness of sins, and of eternal life. Then the thing represented is the same, namely, regeneration. In both there is one foundation upon which the fulfillment of these things rests. Therefore, there is no difference in the inner mystery, by which the whole force and character of the sacraments are to be weighed. What dissimilarity remains lies in the outward ceremony, which is a very slight factor, since the most weighty part depends upon the promise and the thing signified. We therefore conclude that, apart from the difference in the visible ceremony, whatever belongs to circumcision pertains likewise to baptism. To this anagogic relationship and comparison we are guided by the rule of the apostle, which bids us examine all Scriptural interpretation according to the proportion of faith [Rom. 12:3, 6] And the thing is so true we can almost touch it. For circumcision was for the Jews their first entry into the church, because it was a token to them by which they were assured of adoption as the people and the household of God, and they in turn professed to enlist in God’s service. In like manner, we also are consecrated to God through baptism, to be reckoned as his people, and in turn we swear fealty to Him. By this it appears incontrovertible that baptism has taken the place of circumcision to fulfill the same office among us. Book IV, Chapter XVI, Section 4

    In Section 4, Calvin is saying that they signs of baptism and circumcision represent an outward symbol of an inward fact that is contingent upon faith in Christ Jesus. That he clearly states in section 2, he then likens baptism to circumcision in section 3. After stating correctly that baptism symbolizes the reality of our union with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, through faith in Christ Jesus, he then applies the reality of the symbol to infants and states that they should be given the rite of baptism to signify their inclusion in the covenant with God in section 5.

    Now, if we choose to investigate whether is is right to administer baptism to infants, shall we not say that a man is talking nonsense or indeed raving who would halt with the mere element of water and outward observance, but cannot bear to turn his mind to the spiritual mystery? If any account of this is made, it will be evident that baptism is properly administered to infants as something owed to them. For in early times the Lord did not deign to have them circumcised without making them participants in all those things which were the signified by circumcision [Gen. 17:12]. Otherwise, he would have mocked his people with mere trickery if he had nursed them on meaningless symbols, which is a dreadful thing even to hear of. For he expressly declares that the circumcision of the tiny infant will be in lieu of a seal to certify the promise of the covenant. But if the covenant still remains firm and steadfast, it applies no less today to the children of Christians than under the Old Testament it pertained to the infants of the Jews. Yet if they are participants in the thing signified, why shall they be debarred from the sign?…Therefore, since the word “baptism” is applied to infants, why shall the sign, which is an appendix of the word, be denied them?…but since the Lord, without fixing the day, yet declares that he is pleased to receive infants into his covenant with a solemn rite, what more do we inquire? Book IV, Chapter XVI, Section 5

    So here we see Calvin teaching that through symbols of circumcision and baptism the children of believers are pictured as regenerated by God’s Fatherly favor. So, he is saying that children born to believers have their sins forgiven, and are possessors of eternal life. Calvin is saying that is their inheritance.

    Here lies the germ of the seed of universalism, in that, there is another extra-biblical way apart from repentant faith in Jesus Christ being given for forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God, and isn’t that the substance of universalism which contends that God made many ways to Him for sinners to gain eternal life? Now, to be sure, universalism refutes the truth from Scriptures that those who do not repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus Christ remain under God’s wrath and will spend eternity in hell when they die, but those who hold this false teaching also proclaim God’s mercy in providing for the sinners salvation apart from faith in Jesus Christ. For sure, John Calvin believed and taught what the Bible says about eternal damnation, and the need for repentant faith in Christ Jesus for adults (not baptized as infants?), however, any false teaching that includes other ways to God besides repentant faith in Christ Jesus can be seen as supplying encouragement to those who deny salvation is based solely upon turning from sin, believing in Jesus Christ and trusting what He has done for us to procure our salvation in obedience to God the Father.

    This is found in the comment section on Universalism.

    Another problem with Calvinism is they limit Christ’s propitiation to only believers, where the Scriptures say He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. They try to limit the scope of Christ’s propitiatory work which is not biblical.

    Calvinism also focuses on the eternal work of God on the behalf of the sinner almost to the exclusion of the sinner’s responsibility to believe the gospel. Whereas the Scriptures command the sinner to repent and believe the gospel for salvation. I do not doubt election. I also know, according to the Bible, that God is sovereign over all of His works, including the salvation of sinners. However, that doesn’t negate individual responsibility to repent and believe what Jesus Christ has commanded us to believe. God works this all together for His glory and our blessing, praise His name.

    Amillennialism and preterism have arisen from the the reformed camp because of Calvin’s following Augustine’s teachings that focus little on the physical covenant with Israel and neglects the book of Revelation and other Scriptures concerning Christ’s return, conflating all of the Scriptures into the judgment of Christ right before the new heavens and the new earth. So there is no need for the millennial reign of Christ to fulfill His promises to Israel.

    Also the doctrine of the preservation of the saints can be abused towards legalism and also towards licentiousness. One extreme is to look at your performance to know if you are saved, rather than focusing on Jesus Christ, His finished work and the power of His work in our lives. The other extreme is it doesn’t matter what you do, because you are saved by God’s electing call. Rather the Scriptures state that those who fulfill the desires of the flesh are at enmity with God, and God’s children obey Him. So this doctrine can be sorely abused by false teachers.

    Finally, because of the reception of Augustine within Calvinist circles, there is no discernment about other false teachers, and they deal with false teachers by saying, “The person is messy in their theology but still be considered a great apologist”. This is true of their attitude towards Lewis, although even those who are not Calvinists accept him as a true believer. We should be greatly concerned when any system of theology that gets its foundations from a false teacher is placed over the Scriptures. Those are my concerns. I would be interested in what you think about what I have written. May God bless us as we strive to be faithful to Him in all that profess as true and strive to do. Amen!

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  4. Sherry says:

    Thanks, Eliza, for this thorough and brief comment on Calvin. I pretty much like him for not liking X Mass and other popish feasts that are not ordained in scriptures. You said, “The person is messy in their theology but still be considered a great apologist” and I agree! I deleted many apologists’ ministries from my bookmarks and Twitter/Facebook accounts for wishing their followers “Merry Christmas!” as it told me that they are not as discerning as they ought to be. Teachers who equate the incarnation with the Christ Mass are no longer followed by me, either. I’m OK with relating the incarnation on any day of the year including December 25th, but don’t attach the blasphemous greeting to it. It reveals that the teacher knows nothing about the RCC Mass because those who do know will not say His re-crucfixion is at all merry.

    On infant baptism I can only say that the Presbyterians do not believe that infant baptism gives automatic salvation no more than circumcision meant every male infant circumcised was automatically a partaker of the old covenant. It is nothing more than a sign of the new covenant and means nothing more. Both parents must be believers and when the child is of age then that child is responsible for coming to faith in Christ just as the old covenant circumcised males had to come to faith in their Savior and Messiah. However, ask a Roman Catholic or a Lutheran if they have eternal life and why, they will most likely point to their baptism (and church membership)-I know a man who says he has eternal life because he is a Catholic then goes about using God’s holy name as a curse word. I believe that infants and children who die before becoming of age, if they have believing parents, will be with God in His Kingdom, just as David’s son of which David declared that he would one day be with him. And that can be apart from infant baptism. Even child/adult baptism is no indication that one is truly in the faith but that only assent was given to Christ Jesus apart from faith. So, I consider that faith is they key and baptism is only for a sign of that faith in Christ, that we are buried with Him in the water and raised up unto new life in Him by faith. That raising up occurring at the time of faith in Christ for those who were baptized as infants, and at the time of coming to faith in Christ prior to child/adult baptism. Many believe that Scriptures support infant baptism such as those that speak of baptizing whole “households.” They take the comparison of infant baptism to that of Jewish infant circumcision. Now, this much, I have not truly studied on in depth. Both sides of the issue-believer’s baptism and infant baptism have their good teachings so far as I have understood them. I believe faith in Christ Jesus is the key to eternal life and baptism is not a part of it but only for a sign of that faith-dying to self, living for Christ.

    Yes, it is very concerning to see that Calvin and Augustine are pretty much one in their beliefs! I’ve read some of Augustine’s writings and some of it is very good-but doesn’t just a drop of poison kill? One who is not exercising discernment may very well go astray into apostasy. Both Augustine and Calvin are laborious reads and, perhaps because of discernment, I can’t go too far with them before something strikes me as not quite right, i.e., unscriptural. Praise be to the Holy Spirit! \o/ And for His servants who alert us, too.

    Yes, sinners are responsible for their choice to believe in Christ for their salvation, and repentance, a gift given by God, must take place and, I believe, it takes place at the time of true saving faith in Christ Jesus. Dead sinners cannot make the choice- those who love their sinfulness and hate God are never going to make the choice on their own apart from the Holy Spirit’s convicting work. Ah, limited atonement! No, it is a heresy! All of creation has been saved through Christ’s atoning work and the Bible is quite plain on that! It amazes me to see that there is even a debate about it! All of creation groans which includes sinners though they go on blindly in the very reason for their groaning-their sinning against God. That is why, when the Holy Spirit convicts, the one who refuses to repent even until their death, they have not God to blame for their eternal torment. They then made the choice to go against God’s merciful promptings.

    I’ve much yet to learn on these subjects and more, and by God’s grace, He will lead me on the right path of holiness and help me to discern what issues are debatable and what are not to be debated. May He do this for all of us, too, for His name’s sake. amen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eliza says:

      I believe the doctrines of Scripture are not debatable. God has said what He intended and we must, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit study His Word so we are in agreement with what He has declared.

      Calvin did teach salvation for the children of believers through infant baptism. It is pretty clear through his writings in the Institutes, if you study them carefully. He then goes on to say that we cannot confine God to saving sinners only through the preaching of the gospel! Universalism!

      Paul exhorted Timothy to watch his life and doctrine closely for in so doing he would save both himself and his listeners. We can easily go astray. I am afraid that infant baptism is one of the methods that the enemy leads God’s children astray. If we are careful to look at the recent history of the Presbyterian church we will see that whole denominations have careened into the destruction of false teaching. I’m not saying infant baptism led the way, but if they agreed with Calvin about this false doctrine then indeed it was a footfall onto that wrong path. Both the PCA and the PCUSA have abandoned the faith and added works to the doctrine of salvation. Here is a link to a good article from Teaching the Word, that is very eye-opening about the compromise within the visible church and especially Presbyterian denominations.

      http://www.teachingtheword.org/apps/articles/?articleid=69494&view=post&blogid=5438

      About Christmas: My immediate family has finally agreed that we shouldn’t celebrate it. This took a couple of years, but my husband and daughter finally see that Christmas isn’t a good holiday to celebrate. Yesterday, while sending thank you cards to the individuals who sent my family Christmas cards, I thought about the enslaving, driving, spending aspect of this holiday. It is overwhelming! It is a very ecumenical worldly celebration that has nothing to do with the birth of Christ, but everything to do with the pomp, pride, and personal extravagance of fallen mankind. This is not glorifying to Jesus Christ. Additionally, Christmas is not mentioned in the Scriptures. We must rejoice in our salvation and the fact that our glorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Majesty on High interceding for us as we follow Him, and that He is returning soon for His church. That is what we should focus on at all times. Both Christmas and Easter have the effect of consoling sinners in their rebellion against God Almighty, leading the sinner to think they have somehow pleased God by their observance of these holidays, and doesn’t the Vatican delight to spread that error?

      Praise God He has given us His truth and His truth is found in His preserved, infallible, inerrant, inspired Word, the Bible. Let us determine within our hearts to study this book, which alone is given to us by God, for our own edification and the edification of others. Amen!

      Liked by 1 person

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