Unity, Not Uniformity

Read: Ephesians 4:1-16

There is one body and one Spirit . . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (vv. 4-6)

In Christ, we are one body, marked by the waters of baptism. The apostle Paul calls us to embrace our unity. This unity is a gift, but it also takes work “to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (v. 3).

However, oneness is not sameness. “Although there is only one body, one faith and one family,” writes pastor and theologian John Stott, “this unity is not to be misconstrued as a lifeless or colourless uniformity. We are not to imagine that every Christian is an exact replica of every other, as if we had all been mass-produced in some celestial factory” (The Message of Ephesians, p. 155). Far from it! This unity, Stott says, is exciting and beautiful in its diversity!

This is not just because of our different cultures, backgrounds, and personalities but because of different “gifts of grace” that Christ distributes. Paul lists only five here, but there are many more (see 1 Cor. 12 and Rom. 12). These spiritual gifts are given not for selfishness but for service. They are given so the body of Christ might function well together and so we all might grow up into Christ, the head. What gifts has God given you? How are you developing and using them to serve others and glorify God? —Brian Keepers

As you pray, ask God to help you identify what gifts he’s given you and how you might use them to build up Christ’s body.

About the Author

The Rev. Dr. Brian Keepers is the lead pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, IA. He has served as an ordained pastor in the Reformed Church in America for twenty years, and received his D.Min from Western Theological Seminary (Holland, MI). Brian is married and has two daughters and one granddaughter.

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