“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 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” (Ephesians 4:1-5).
All Bible-believing followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, according to verse 5 of our text, have three things in common. They have the same Lord, the same faith, and the same baptism. This verse teaches the foundation of true Christian unity. Unless we agree on these statements we neither walk with Christ or other believers.
The “one Lord” is the Lord Jesus Christ. This being so, there can be no cause for trying to find a middle way or common ground with members of other religions. “One Lord” is non-negotiable. In Acts 4:12 the apostle Peter declared, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” He is mankind ONLY Saviour, “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:12-13.) Obviously this idea of ‘one’ true God is anathema to the world, “but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him” (1 Corinthians 8:6.) This “one Lord” idea reminds us of the statement in Deuteronomy 6:4 … “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” Since this verse speaks of the unity of the Godhead (trinity / tri-unity) we can see that there is no theological problem about calling Christ the “one Lord.”
“Faith” here refers to what we believe. This belief is based upon the fundamental, infallible, authorative and inherent Scriptures (the Bible.) From this book we learn all that we need to know about Christ. Where the Bible is rejected or undermined, the true Christian should have no fellowship with such people. It is this faith that we need to uphold together. Islam and Hinduism never suggest that their sacred book cannot be believed, but Christianity does exactly that with the Bible. If we are going to walk worthy then we must valiantly defend God’s word … “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude :3.) This “one faith” must be in the “one Lord.”
This is referring to water baptism rather than baptism in the Holy Spirit. Paul is writing about the common baptism. How were they baptised in the first century? Everyone was baptised by full immersion, and we only read of adults being baptised. Therefore any diversion from this mode is uncommon and should be rejected. Baptism is our public testimony that we have chosen to faithfully walk with Christ. Peter writes, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21.) This “one baptism” is experienced by those who have the “one faith” in the “one Lord.”
These three things are vital for Biblical unity between Christians. Anything less than this standard can only produce false unity at best. Where there is no “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” there is nothing to build upon. To walk worthy with Christ we must accept His word on all matters. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). We cannot walk worthy with Christ unless we agree with Him.