About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
Unity Of Faith
Ephesians 4:11 through 13 reads:
"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets,
the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works
of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all
reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and
become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of
The words "until we all
reach unity in the faith" imply
that full unity of faith has not yet been realized, but as I believe,
will be realized when Jesus returns to put the finishing touches on His
church-building project. Remember,
Jesus did say that He would build His church (Matthew 18:16). Until
His church is fully constructed, we strive for the unity of faith, but
what does that mean?
Some might suggest that unity of
faith means doctrinal unity among Christians, as if that is ever
possible. I admit that there
does seem to be a few New Testament passages where the words "the
faith" might be understood in doctrinal terms, but I'm not
convinced that was how Paul used the words "the faith" here.
The Greek word
"pistis" that is translated as faith in the New Testament
means trust. If you have
faith in someone or something, you trust that someone or something.
In light of Biblical faith meaning trust and the ecclesiastical
context of the above passage, I suggest the unity of faith Paul had in
mind is a corporate trust the church has in Jesus.
As an individual believer trusts his life with Jesus, so each
local expression of church corporately trusts its church life with
One foundational principle of
church is that when a person trusts his life with Jesus he or she is
expected to enter a trusting relationship with those to whom Jesus has
called him or her alongside in church.
This unified trust among believers is the unity of faith.
Until the day Jesus returns to earth, the degree to which we
develop and maintain personal trusting relationships in church is the
degree to which we assist Jesus in His church-building project.