Read: Ephesians 4:1-6

There is one body. (v. 4)

Newcomers to the Dutch community in Iowa where I lived were surprised not only by the number of churches, but they were also confused by the varieties of “Reformed.” There were Reformed, Christian Reformed, United Reformed, Protestant Reformed, and Netherlands Reformed congregations. And those were just the Reformed churches!

Paul’s plea for believers to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (v. 3) seems a dream. Yet, Paul bases his teaching on at least three things. First, Paul’s vision in chapters 1-3 outlines God’s plan to unite all things in Christ (1:10), including all believers into the church, which is Christ’s body. Second, Paul points again to his being a prisoner for the Lord as grounds for believers to pay attention to this vision (4:1-3). He is willing to suffer so that they will live in this truth. Third, Paul describes the unity of the church as a reality that already exists (vv. 4-6). By saying “there is one body and one Spirit,” Paul implies that no matter how humans may divide the church, its unity is a spiritual reality.

What does this mean for today? Perhaps the place to begin is “with all humility and gentleness” (v. 2). Even if institutional unity seems impossible, imagine the testimony to the world if believers treated each other with humility and gentleness, acknowledging that there is “one God and Father of all” (v. 6). —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, ask God to grow humility and gentleness in your heart.

About the Author

jon opgenorth

Rev. Jon Opgenorth serves as president of Words of Hope. Previously, he served for 18 years as senior pastor at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. In preparation for ministry, he received a BA in Religion from Northwestern College, and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.