Page images
PDF
EPUB

builder, and owner. It, therefore, not only lays an important foundation for the unity of all believers under the one and only Scriptural church cognomen, but also honors God as its author and possessor. Is there, then, no difference in a name? Would a title that does not indicate whether the church originated from, and belongs to, God, man, or the devil, do equal honor to God with that which ascribes it wholly to him?

The glorious institution that Jesus founded is a complete organization. Now, nothing could well take on regular organic form without designating its name. Therefore about the first clause of every constitution of earthly organizations, reads somewhat as follows: “This society [corporation or joint stock company, etc) shall be known by the name of,” etc. So when Jesus, the Son of God, founded his heavenly Jerusalem on earth, he put on record that this holy community should be kept in the name of the Father, and the apostles were inspired to word the name thus: “The ekklesia of God.In this one name her oneness is to be maintained. Whoever, therefore, imposes or assumes any other church title is not only guilty of disobeying the earnest desire of Christ, but also guilty of creating or partaking of the enormous sin of schism. This is a matter of no small weight in the sight of God.

4. The discipline. The fourth plank in the divine basis of oneness is the inspired discipline that the head of the church gave for its government. The Lord Jesus forever cut off all excuse for his professed disciples to usurp the headship of his church by presuming to make laws and regulations for their own government. In the very prayer that pleads for their perfect unity he says, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” John 17:4. By reference to Deut. 18:15-19 it is seen that one thing the Father required of him was to speak unto the people all his new-covenant law. This he had therefore done. Yea, he saith, “I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me.” “I have given them thy word.” John 17:8, 14.

Having already shown the perfection and the infallibility of this divinely authorized discipline, we call attention to it here merely to show that nothing essential to the foundation of perfect unity is unsupplied. Had the founder of

the church of God left her without a creed or system of cooperation, it might have been taken for granted that men were left at liberty to draft such rules and regulations as they thought best. In this case there would have been an excuse for different creeds and for the resultant divisions. But Jesus has forever excluded all who would be lawmakers in the kingdom of heaven.

“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.” Eph. 4: 4-6. What a beautiful picture of perfect unity! There is but one body, therefore to start another is to go out of the one; one Spirit, hence to admit another is to give place to the devil. There is one Lord; this ignores all the ecclesiastical lords and high officials that resolve themselves into a rival head and announce themselves the law-making power of the church." "One faith”- the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). By whom was it given? "The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.” Psa. 68:11. This clearly defines the prewe will trace the blessed cause and effect in its negative virtues. In 1 Cor. 3:3 and Gal. 5:19, 20, we see that factions, or heresies, are the works of the flesh, the fruits of the carnal mind. Entire sanctification destroys all divisions by removing the cause; for it cleanses the heart from all unrighteousness. But there is a positive part to this sanctifying work of grace; namely, the infilling of the Holy Spirit; the return of Christ from heaven in the power of the Comforter, bringing with him the Father. Thus his sanctified temples are filled “with all the fulness of God.” The perfect cleansing feature of the sanctifying grace removes all carnality, which is the cause of division, and the all-pervading love of God, shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit, brings all hearts into the same harmony that reigns in heaven, into perfect unity, as the Father and Son are one.

This is expressed in these words: “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.' John 17:22, 23. The

[ocr errors]

glory which he has given to the church and which makes us one as he and the Father, he thus defines: “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." The unifying glory is the indwelling God; for “the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory(Isa. 60:19). In Luke 2:32 Christ is declared to be, “A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” And again, we read, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you.” 1 Pet. 4:14. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit constitute the excellent glory that Jesus bequeathed to his church. Who dare say that this divine fulness is unable to produce the effect Christ said it would ?

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.2 Cor. 3:18. From “glory to glory” we receive the glory of the very image of Christ; namely, from the glory of justification into the glory of entire sanctification. “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord,

« PreviousContinue »