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prayer in which Christ so earnestly and repeatedly besought the perfect unity of all his disciples, and all who would subsequently believe on him, w find him laying down the
COMPLETE BASIS OF ONENESS. 1. Not of the world. “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” “The men which thou gavest me out of the world.' John 17:6, 14. Here is the very first condition of entering into the required unity. This world is all cursed and confused by the malady of sin. The fall of the race not only separated between man and God, but also broke the human family into fragments, bringing hatred and strife into men's hearts. Jesus, however came into the world and wrought a new creation. In it are peace, unity, and harmony. But no man can enter the new creation and still abide in the old. Hence it is no marvel that the mass of sectarians, who conform to the world in pride, love the world in covetousness, and run with the world in all its popular amusements and abominations, persistently cry:
We must agree to disagree;
Certainly not; but they need not wait for the future to bring the higher state. Let them repent of their sins, deny themselves of the lusts of the flesh, and be saved out of this world by the transforming grace of God; then skall they have met the first conditions of discipleship and also the first conditions of oneness. But iņ coming out of the old world of sin into what shall we enter and abide ?
2. In Christ alone. “That they all may be one: as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.” Verse 21. . This is an important condition and basis of oneness. We can not hope to be one in any earthborn association, but we can and must be one in God and in Christ. They put darkness for light and light for darkness, who talk of joining some sect in order to be united. Every sect is a schism, and to join one is to partake of the sin of division, which is, as we have seen, extremely hateful in the sight of God. Of course, many have joined sects ignorantly, not discriminating between the church which is of God, and the sect which is of man; and our compassionate High Priest shows mercy to those who unwittingly go out of the way, provided they are only willing to walk in the light when it shines unto them. If, then, we are to be one in Christ Jesus, they who are saved out of the world unto him and abide in him, walking in all his truth and not allowing themselves to be enticed into any. thing else—these stand upon the divinely appointed foundation of unity and are free from the great transgression of schism. On the contrary, whoever professes the name of Christ and yet wilfully enters anything besides the church of the Lord Jesus, will have to answer for the sin of division. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3: 28. “So we being many are one body in Christ. Rom. 12:5.
What excuse, then, is there for division? There is salvation in no other than Christ, and “ye are complete in him”—completely saved, completely kept, completely supplied, and completely unified. Since, therefore, we are commanded to "abide in him” and in him we have all grace, peace, and wisdom, oneness, happiness, and holiness, what but the will of the flesh and of the devil can lead men to join themselves to anything else?
Says the devotee of sects, “It is utterly impossible for any one to bring the whole Christian body to this way of thinking.” That is all true, and it accounts for the fact that every human institution has failed to unite all Christians upon the platform of its creed; but with all this admitted, there still remains no excuse for divisions. Man's inability does not overthrow God's ability. It still remains true that the Lord Jesus Christ “is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phil. 3:21). It was not man but Christ who "made both one [i. e., Jews and Gentiles), and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us (Eph. 2: 14). The same salvation would utterly break down and sweep out of existence every sectarian wall of modern times. "The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul.” He who, by his transforming grace, wrought this beautiful effect at the beginning of his heavenly kingdom on earth is able to give all who truly submit themselves to him the same “one mind” today; and, indeed, we shall show, in its proper place, that just now the Lord is gathering his holy bride from every ism under heaven into his own body and fulfilling prophecy in giving them “one heart and one way." It is God's own doings, and man's inability has nothing to do with it. The work of unifying the children of God is no more the work of man than is our salvation. We are all one in Christ Jesus.
3. The name. The third provision of our oneness in the prayer of Christ was his fulfilment of the prediction of Isa. 62:2: “And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name." Here is a clear prophecy of the transition from the first to the second covenant; from the Israel that was born after the flesh and was of the one nation to the Israel that is born of the Spirit out of all nations. The Jews as a nation rejected Christ, and the kingdom of heaven was open to the Gentiles. An entirely new order was then enacted, and old things passed away. The people (church) of God under the new covenant received a new name, which was given by the mouth of the Lord. The same thing is again spoken of in Isaiah 65. In verse 12 is an awful picture of the destruction of the Jews. “Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because