April 5, 2022
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.
March 8, 2022
One important concept that we often see in the scriptures is that we should be of the same mind. Paul tells the church at Philippi to, “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind…” (Philippians 2:2, NASB) What does it mean to be of the same mind? Does it mean that we should all have the same opinions about every topic? Does it mean that no one should be allowed to have a thought that differs from the majority?
Let us look at some other instances where the phrase is used and try to determine the meaning. Paul writes in Romans chapter 12, “Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly.” (Romans 12:16, NASB) Here we see that being of the same mind means not thinking too highly of yourself. It means associating with those who may be of low position. In the church, the rich and poor, the formally educated and those who are not, the spiritually mature and immature are all one in Christ, and therefore we should have the same mind toward one another!
In Romans chapter 15 we read, “Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another…so that…you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us…” (Romans 15:5-7, NASB) Here we see that being of one mind is about accepting one another. What does he mean by that? This verse follows closely after Paul’s discussion in Romans chapter 14 about not passing judgement on the opinions of a brother or sister (we are speaking here of opinions, not of clear commands of the Lord). We need to accept one another in Christ, even if we have different convictions about matters of opinion. Being of the same mind is not about being in lockstep on every matter of opinion, but rather it is about accepting one another—despite our differences of opinion—because Christ has accepted us! In fact, to demand complete uniformity on every matter of opinion in the church will destroy same-mindedness.
We need to strive to be of the same mind in the church, which means that we need to have the same care and concern for all. We need to accept one another in Christ—no matter anyone’s so-called social status. We need to live in harmony with one another in Christ—even if we have drawn different conclusions about various matters of opinion. In so doing, we will be able to glorify our Father with one voice, as He desires.