Have you ever wondered why there are so many different religious beliefs and denominations in the world today? One thing is certain, Jesus did not start many different religious denominations. He started one church made up of people who have saving faith in Him. God adds people to His one church when they respond in faith and are baptized into Christ. This is what happened on the day Peter preached the first Gospel sermon. The scriptures say, “So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41, NASB) Only God can add souls to the church he established.
Just as there is only one church, there is also only one faith. Paul writes, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6, NASB) The word faith in this passage is referring to the body of beliefs that the church holds in common. As Jude writes to the church, “…Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” (Jude 3, NASB). Notice that he does not speak of a faith, but the faith. There is only one faith. The one faith was once and for all handed down from God, and we need to be contending earnestly for it. Every belief, doctrine, and practice that we hold as a church should be rooted in God’s word and nowhere else.
We need to be careful that we do not substitute the creeds, traditions, and doctrines of men for the truth of God’s word. When we stray from the word of God, we end up with many various teachings that are not coming from God, but from man. Of course, we may struggle in our attempts to correctly interpret the word of God, but this doesn’t change the fact that we should recognize that there is only one body and one faith. I know that as we make sincere, prayerful attempts to honor the word and stay within the word, God will lead us into a better understanding and help us to properly apply His teachings. There is one body. There is one faith. May God help us as we strive to hold to these precious truths.