The Review and Herald

1570/1902

November 12, 1908

Till We All Come to the Unity of the Faith

EGW

Paul, urging the Ephesians to preserve unity and love, writes: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” RH November 12, 1908, Art. A, par. 1

The apostle exhorts his brethren to manifest in their lives the power of the truth which he had presented to them. By meekness and gentleness, forbearance and love, they were to exemplify the character of Christ and the blessings of his salvation. There is but one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith. As members of the body of Christ, all members are to be animated by the same spirit and the same hope. RH November 12, 1908, Art. A, par. 2

Harmony and union existing among men of varied dispositions is the strongest witness that can be borne that God has sent his Son into the world to save sinners. It is our privilege to bear this witness. Our characters must be molded in harmony with his character, our wills must be surrendered to his will. RH November 12, 1908, Art. A, par. 3

In the first disciples was presented a marked diversity. They were to be the world's teachers, and they represented widely varied types of character. There were Levi Matthew the publican, called from a life of business activity, and subservience to Rome; the zealous Simon, the uncompromising foe of the imperial authority; the impulsive, self-sufficient, warm-hearted Peter, with Andrew his brother; Judas the Judean, polished, capable, and mean-spirited; Philip and Thomas, faithful and earnest, yet slow of heart to believe; James the less and Jude, of less prominence among the brethren, but men of force, positive both in their faults and in their virtues; Nathanael, a child in sincerity and trust; and the ambitious, loving-hearted sons of Zebedee. RH November 12, 1908, Art. A, par. 4

In order successfully to carry forward the work to which they had been called, these disciples, differing so widely in natural characteristics, in training, and in habits of life, needed to come into unity of feeling, thought, and action. This unity it was Christ's object to secure. To this end he sought to bring them into unity with himself. The burden of his labor for them is expressed in his prayer to the Father, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: ... that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” RH November 12, 1908, Art. A, par. 5

For these disciples the mission of Christ finally accomplished its purpose. Little by little his example and his lessons of self-abnegation molded their characters. His death destroyed their hope of worldly greatness. The fall of Peter, the apostasy of Judas, their own failure in forsaking Christ in his anguish and peril, swept away their self-sufficiency. They saw their own weakness; they saw something of the greatness of the work committed to them; they felt their need of their Master's guidance at every step. RH November 12, 1908, Art. A, par. 6

They knew that his personal presence was no longer to be with them, and they recognized, as they had never recognized before, the value of the opportunities that had been theirs to walk and talk with the Sent of God. Many of his lessons, when spoken, they had not appreciated or understood; now they longed to recall these lessons, to hear again his words. With what joy now came back to them his assurance: RH November 12, 1908, Art. A, par. 7

“It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him.” “All things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” And “the Comforter ... whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to you remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” “All things that the Father hath are mine.” “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.... He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” RH November 12, 1908, Art. A, par. 8

The disciples had seen Christ ascend from them on the Mount of Olives. And as the heavens received him, there had come back to them his parting promise, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” They knew that his sympathies were with them still. They knew that they had a representative, an advocate, at the throne of God. In the name of Jesus they presented their petitions, repeating his promise, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” Higher and higher they extended the hand of faith, with the mighty argument, “It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” RH November 12, 1908, Art. A, par. 9

Faithful to his promise, the divine One, exalted in the heavenly courts, imparted of his fulness to his followers on earth. His enthronement at God's right hand was signalized by the outpouring of the Spirit upon his disciples. By the work of Christ these disciples had been led to feel their need of the Spirit; under the Spirit's teaching they received their final preparation, and went forth to their life-work. RH November 12, 1908, Art. A, par. 10

No longer were they ignorant and uncultured. No longer were they a collection of independent units or of discordant and conflicting elements. No longer were their hopes set on worldly greatness. They were of “one accord,” of “one mind and one soul.” Christ filled their thoughts. The advancement of his kingdom was their aim. In mind and character they had become like their Master; and men “took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” RH November 12, 1908, Art. A, par. 11

Then there was such a revelation of the glory of Christ as had never before been witnessed by mortal man. Multitudes who had reviled his name and despised his power confessed themselves disciples of the crucified. Through the co-operation of the divine Spirit the labors of the humble men whom Christ had chosen, stirred the world. RH November 12, 1908, Art. A, par. 12

“When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.... And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” RH November 12, 1908, Art. A, par. 13

Here we are shown that God gives to every man his work, and in doing this work, man is fulfilling his part of God's great plan. Every faithful worker will minister for the perfecting of the saints. All who have been benefited by the labors of God's servant, should, according to their ability, unite with him in working for the salvation of souls. This is the work of all true believers, ministers, and people. They should keep the grand object ever in view, each seeking to fill his proper position in the church, and all working together in order, harmony, and love. RH November 12, 1908, Art. A, par. 14

There is nothing selfish or narrow in the religion of Christ. Its principles are diffusive and aggressive. It is represented by Christ as the bright light, as the saving salt, as the transforming leaven. With zeal, earnestness, and devotion, the servants of God will seek to spread far and near the knowledge of the truth; yet they will not neglect to labor for the strength and unity of the church. RH November 12, 1908, Art. A, par. 15