Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Unity of the Churches – God's WillEphesians 2:14-22
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. … Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. [Ephesians 2:14,18 – NLT]
The title for today's devotion brings to mind two citations that most of us are familiar with. One is the classic hymn “The church's one foundation” and the other is the Nicene creed that we recite every Sunday during worship. The first stanza of the hymn tells the story of the Church in a nutshell. “The church's one foundation / Is Jesus Christ her Lord; / She is his new creation / By water and the Word. / From heaven he came and sought her / To be his holy bride; / With his own blood he bought her, / And for her life he died.” (S. J. Stone – 1866) As we read in today's Scripture passage, the Church is built on the foundation of Christ through His death on the cross. So the Church is one unit though there could be different parts with different styles within a body. In Ephesians 4:15 the Church is presented as the body of Christ: “we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the Church.”
In the fourth section of the Nicene creed we recite what we believe as Christians. “We believe in the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins and look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the new life of the world to come. Amen.” Our belief is in one holy and universal Church that follows the teachings and mission from the apostles whom Jesus commissioned to continue His ministry in His Church.
As we go through today's Scripture passage we come across several phrases that emphasize unity in Church. Some of them are: “he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us” - “Together as one body,” - “You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people” - “You are members of God’s family” - “together, we are his house,” - “We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.”
All these qualifications are not about any one denominational Church but about the Church universal that includes all the Churches. The unity of the Churches is God's will because “all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us” - it is the work of the Triune God.
Lord, we thank You for the privilege to be part of the Church that is Your body. Help us to work together in unity for Your glory. Amen
Thought for the day
“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. ” [Ephesians 4:1-3] How do we achieve it?
Orlando MTC, Florida.