Ephesians 4

Ephesians 4:4-5

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,

(a) One body. The body of Christ is the Church, of which Christ is the head (Eph. 5:23). “We who are many are one body in Christ” (Rom. 12:5).

(b) The one Spirit is the Holy Spirit a.k.a. the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9) and the Spirit of Grace (Heb. 10:29). “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13).

(c) One Lord. Jesus Christ is the Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15).

When Jesus walked the earth he was known as Jesus of Nazareth or the Son of Man. But after he ascended to heaven he was given a new name above every name, and that name is Lord (Php. 2:9–11). On the Day of Pentecost, Peter stood up and preached the new name of the Lord. “God has made him both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2: 36). Towards the end of the first century, there was growing pressure to refer to the Roman emperor as lord. But in Asia, the saints refused to call anyone Lord but Jesus (see entry for Rev. 3:8).

(d) One faith. The body of Christ is characterized by the faith or belief or persuasion that Jesus is Lord. Faith is not merely intellectual assent; it is living from the revelation that Jesus really is Lord with all that implies.

(e) One baptism. Several types of baptism are mentioned in scripture including: John’s baptism of repentance (Acts 19:3–4), water baptism done in Jesus’ name (Acts 10:48, 19:5), Holy Spirit baptism (Act 11:16), Jesus’ baptism of suffering (Matt. 20:22), and baptism for the dead (1 Cor. 15:29). Since there are different baptisms, why does Paul say there is only one? He is referring to the baptism that happens to every believer when they are put into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:12–13).

The moment you came to Jesus, you were baptized or placed in him by the Spirit. To be baptized means to be dipped or immersed. To use an obscure word, it is to be whelmed. To whelm something is to bury it in dirt or sink it in water. It is what happens when a ship goes down in a storm or a skier is hit with an avalanche. To be baptized or whelmed is a dramatic and catastrophic event and it happened to you (Rom. 6:3).

Your old self had issues that you could never resolve. The Holy Spirit’s solution was to whelm or bury your old nature in the ground with Jesus. This is what it means to be baptized into his death. But the Holy Spirit didn’t leave you in the ground. Just as he raised Jesus, he raised you (Rom. 6:6–7). Because of that one baptism you are now free from sin and free to live in Christ.

Further reading: “What is the baptism that saves?

Ephesians 4:6

one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

See entry for Eph. 3:14.

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