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(Ephesians iv. 3.)

IN close connection with this subject the apostle has set forth the great oneness existing throughout the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. This being a “one kingdom “all that pertains to it ought, by the apostle’s argument, to have a oneness. It seems that by his way of speaking he would have it known “to the faithful in Christ Jesus” that the love of God among them is sometimes hindered or obstructed. He has used the phrase “endeavoring to keep the unity,” as though the unity of the Spirit was liable to be endangered. The word “endeavor” signifies an effort, a trial, as though it could not always attain that which was sought after. This agrees with Paul’s experience as he tells it in the seventh chapter of Romans. However, it is enjoined upon the “faithful “to endeavor to lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset them. This power cannot be exercised beyond the limits of God’s grace, which is delivered unto each individual in the kingdom of grace. For unto every one “is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” This is shown by Paul in the chapter containing my subject. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” A difference of the gifts bestowed, but all by the same Giver, by the same Spirit. To keep the unity of the Spirit, is as much enjoined as to “put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” The words “put on,” used several times by Paul, I think essentially mean the same as endeavoring, trying, willing to do and having a holy desire to do that which is beautiful in holiness. So when he said as above: “Put on charity,” it means the same as if written: Put on love; for the charity that Paul dealt in was nothing less than love of God. His meaning cannot be misunderstood in the quotation: “Put on therefore, as, the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” – Col. iii. 12, 13. They are to put on bowels of mercies: help their brethren by kindness and humility. This shows forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light. It is not argued for a moment that we can force the love of God, but, on the other hand, we emphasize the fact that having the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given unto us, that it is only by the grace given that we are enabled to love them whom God has loved, and who are by the power of God enabled to show unto us through faith their love for God and his cause. When this is clearly done by the Spirit of Truth we are made to love them, for, if we love Him that begat, we also love them that are begotten of him. It is the fleshly mind that prevents the free course of heavenly love; it is the flesh that sometimes holds in check the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. For this contagion Paul has given a remedy: “Put off, * * * the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Again Paul speaks: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth.” These are vile propensities and passions, as in this connection he still further says: “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” Right here is abundant labor for every christian; his worst enemy belongs to his own household, and he will ever be a member of his household, as long as the warfare lasts. The unity of the Spirit is hard to keep during this warfare. If it were not for grace given it could never approach a oneness; but, “thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory,” we are sometimes made so wise unto salvation that all is calm, so that the fruit of the Spirit hangs in great clusters, and it is a sweet surprise to get a single eye to view them in their beauty, and to be enabled to point out, and to feast upon these spiritual fruits, such as love, called eternal love, great love, and the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. When this fruit is seen and enjoyed, we are not sensible of being under any law, but of being under grace to Him who died once under the law, but who now is above and beyond the reach of any law. It is according to the arrangement of the Father that unity should prevail in all the highest places. It pleased the Father that in the Son all fullness should dwell. The Father is one with the Son; the Son is one with the Father. There is one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. There was one offering for sin, and but one. There is one Savior, and but one. There is but one name given under heaven among men whereby any can be saved. The chosen people of God are one people, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” The chosen people are called in the one hope of their calling; they have faith once delivered unto them; they are one in Christ who is their sanctification, atonement and redemption. Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one. By that one offering He perfected forever them that are sanctified. Because of this unity “he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Jesus being so near to us in all his work, may we count it all joy to crucify the old man, and walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called. May we look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, for the pattern of good words and works, and contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints. Brethren, this is at your disposal.

Helena, Okla., Jan. 29, 1908.

Signs Of The Times
Volume 76., No. 18.
SEPTEMBER 15, 1908.