July 13, 2003
THE UNITY AND THE BOND
Paul exhorted that we "walk...with all humility of mind and meek-ness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:1-3). This attitude in our walk will prove essential for us to "keep the unity."
Ephesians 3 reveals a three-fold unity; "the unity of the spirit" (v. 3), "the unity of the faith" (v. 13), and the unity of the body as it is "fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working of every part..." (v. 16).
The parallel passage reads, "And not holding the Head, from Which, all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increases with the increase of God" (Col. 2:19).
"Endeavor" is translated "forward" as Paul "remembered the poor saints in Jerusalem " (Gal. 2:10). Paul urged Timothy to "Study (endeavor) to show thyself approved unto God..." And twice he exhorted Timothy to "do thy diligence to come shortly," and "do thy diligence to come before winter" wherein both expressions the Greek word for "endeavor" was used, v. 9 & 21. Finally, Hebrews 4:11 the expression "Let us labor (also means to endeavor)...to enter into that rest..." Thus we see it speaks of an active, watchful diligence!
To "keep" means to keep as one would a treasure, for Mary "kept all these sayings in her heart" (Luke 2:51). Paul wrote, "I have kept the faith " (2 Tim. 4:7). We are therefore to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the same diligence as Mary would have treasured those sayings and as Paul would have kept the faith. Timothy was further exhorted to "keep that which is committed to thy trust (the precious deposit, the secret revealed to Paul)" (1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:12 & 14).
The "bond" or binding of this unity is "peace." We have already read, Christ "is our peace, Who has made both one...," that He "abolished... the enmity, the law of commandments...creating one new man, so making peace," and that He "came and preached peace to them that were far off and to them that were near" (Eph. 2:14-17).
How better to exhibit this "unity of the Spirit" than "with one mind and one mouth glorifying God..." (Rom. 15:6) and "that ye stand fast in one spirit...striving for the faith of the gospel" (Phil 1:27).
Ivan L. Burgener