The Fellowship of the Mystery or All One in Christ Jesus
"As the body is one...so also is Christ" (1Cor.12: 12).
"By One Spirit are we all baptized (plunged) into One Body" (1Cor.12: 13).
"The church...His Body, -the fullness (completing) of Him" (Eph.1: 22,23).
"The fellowship of The MYSTERY"(Eph.3: 9AV).
In the above verses, we are confronted with what the New Testament calls
God's Mystery; -a "secret" previously hidden but now revealed (See Eph.3: 3-6). In
eternity past, God planned that His SON become incarnate and then extended into a
corporate form-Saviour and saints ONE ORGANISM TOGETHER in the power and
splendor of His resurrection; -a mystery indeed, -beyond all comprehension.
In what follows in these pages, we shall have that Great Mystery constantly
before us, but it is particularly on our hearts to say something about the
accompanying horrors of man-made DIVISIONS. We ask for our readers' patience as
we touch upon the negative, -but such is necessary if we are to enjoy fully the
glorious positive. Let us first consider:
1. THE RELENTLESS WARFARE AGAINSTCHRISTIAN UNITY
This, of course, is a tremendous subject, one which we shall not try to deal with
in any detail, our main concern now being with some recent subtle forms of that
warfare. If God has a plan (or a "secret") such as we referred to, above!-we may be
sure it will be bitterly opposed by God's enemy. Thus, while we read with great joy of
those early wonderful days of the church's history, when "all that believed were
together", and when "they continued with one accord" -(see Acts 2:42-46), it is not
surprising that, soon after, we also read, "there arose a murmuring of the Grecians
against the Hebrews because..."(Acts 6:1). That, of course, was just according to
pattern; -Satan hates any heaven-made unity! Ever since then, the same battle has
gone on, and, today, new Christian converts are often confused to know "which KIND
of Christianity" they should "join" ! -and they tell us the various factions,
persuasions, denominations, and groupings they have heard of. As I said, we shall
not now go into the sad details, but most will be well aware of the tragic situation, -a
veritable fragmentation of God's ONE church. (Even any sincere attempt to recover
lost ground becomes "suspect" itself, and is often decried as "just another splinter
group". In such cases, we can thank God that He is well able to discern the true
governing motive, and to allot His mercies accordingly). Indeed, indeed, -what a
battle for UNITY!
We earlier mentioned that there has arisen in recent times, a particular and very
subtle form of division about which we feel we should say something. We refer to
"gaps "that are appearing, -and being widely accepted, -between older Christians
and younger ones. While such Christians have been brought together by the Lord
into the same local church, as far as practical and loving fellowship is concerned, -it
is virtually non-existent. Instead, we find a distinct "grouping up", -a separating, -a
division, -a "rift"; -something that is bringing great spiritual loss to all concerned.
Let me say immediately, that we are not referring here to normal and
understandable (and right) "distinguishing". Different age -groups will (hopefully) be
present in any local church, with appropriate provisions being made according to the
needs. When such is really present and operating, we can only praise the Lord, -and
we do! But something more than that is now being accepted, and is becoming fairly
well established. We hear of "Young Peoples' Churches" existing alongside the
normal gathering. The gaps are growing, and the normal inter -flow of Christian
Fellowship is being limited, -to say the least. It may begin with "Children's Church", -
perhaps just another term for "Sunday School", but beware; the enemy is subtle,
and very clever. The battle of Genesis three is still going on!
This is all related, of course, to a world trend, where everything that is "old",
(say. twenty years, -or ten!), is "out"! In most of its affairs, the whole, world is now
saying, "We want the NEW" (-itself,-basically, just another mimicry (unconsciously)
of God's own language and determination, -all things "new" IN CHRIST!).
The "new generation", in fact, now seems to have its own vocabulary, -often
quite confusing to the non -initiated, and, in that way, an inconsiderate offence,
when used in a varied company, such as the church. And there are similar demands
for a "new" kind of music, and a "new" art -form! All these we say, are accepted
world trends; something that cannot be avoided, -and perhaps, of an inevitable
evolution of the species, -or its "devolution"!
Be all that as it may, the church, and the churches, must always beware of
anything that tends to bring division or separation. Amongst those who are called to
live as undivided and indivisible members of the One Body of Christ. Variety, -yes,
but variance, NEVER! Diversity, - yes. but "NO DIVISIONS amongst you" (1 Cor.1
:10). We cannot be too careful, or too watchful, regarding 19oming "gaps" appearing
amongst God's people.
I often think well of the great loss that has come to "our own contemporary
generation", in the realm of Christian literature for instance, and because we have
succumbed to pressures to "cut off" from anything that is, they say, "old". In past
centuries, God has anointed gifted Bible teachers, whose choice ministry has been
mercifully preserved through precious printed books. We think of men like Martin
Luther, John Bunyan, C.H. Spurgeon, F.B. Meyer and others, who have left with us,
veritable gold -mines of spiritual truth. Some of them of course, may have used
"forbidden" words like "thee" or "thou", but the food they have to offer is
incomparable. But less and less of it is being enjoyed by today's believers, because
of a prevailing antipathy, -or bias against anything from the past (Thank God for the
exceptions, -and they are not few, -perhaps even growing in number; -younger
brethren who because of being spiritually hungry for so long, have jumped back over
the wall, and are now being greatly enlightened, and deeply satisfied, with "earlier
servings" of -heavenly food so much so, that some feel themselves compelled to
republish such priceless treasures). But how sad to think of the great losses already
sustained by so many of our brethren! Thank God, He has His own way of making
good the damage! Summing up, let us say that one generation of Christians must
not allow itself to be isolated (in heart and spirit) from other generations of the
same. And, most certainly, no single generation should accept "gaps" within itself,
because of ever -changing "fashions" or powerful culture -trends. With all
regenerated people WE ARE "One Body", and we must ever cultivate the art of
"keeping the Unity of the Spirit" in every way possible. This we shall do if we but
"cleave unto THE LORD", and do so "with purpose of heart" (Acts11: 23). Barnabas
was the good brother who gave us that advice, and he knew that those who "cleave
to the Lord" in that way, will inevitably find themselves cleaving to ALL Christ's
members, whatever generation, and whatever "age -group". "All are yours" (1Cor.3:
22). (We know there are difficulties here, but those with open minds and hearts will
surely get the practical point we have in view). We might mention that rich word of
Paul to the Colossians, assuring us that when we HOLDFAST to our (mutual) Head,
we shall find nourishment from Him being ministered to us ALL, and we shall all
"increase with the increase of God" (Col.2: 19; -also Eph.4: 15, 16). Blessed
II. THE GREAT SERIOUSNESS OF DIVISIONS AMONG CHRISTIANS
We have in mind, of course, divisions that now exist amongst Christians
worldwide, divisions already well established, and very seldom questioned in our
times, and also divisions that, sad to say, are frequently found in local churches or
fellowships. To say the least, these, too, are beginning to be viewed as "something
inevitable", and something we have to learn to live with. More frequently, perhaps,
there can be bitter, and long-lasting "feuds" between two individual Christians, as in
the case of Euodias and Syntyche at Philippi (Phil.4:2). All these forms of divisions
are grievous indeed, and send forth a wrong "savoir" from the ointment of the
church (See Eccles.1 0: 1 ; 2 Cor.2:14, 15). May the Lord have mercy on us!
Let us now present three simple reasons why such divisions are so serious,
and let us face up squarely to the challenge:
1.Such divisions violate the basic doctrine of the ONE BODY OF CHRIST. We
have already said much about this, so little needs to be added. God planned this
"Mystery" in a past eternity, and He wants (and works) to see His blood-bought
people enjoying and exemplifying that oneness, under the gracious Headship of their
2.Such divisions run counter to the constant pleadings of the Apostle Paul.
How fearlessly he rebuked the follies of the disintegrating Corinthians, and pleaded
most intensely for restored unity among them. One verse must here suffice, -and we
do well to notice the comprehensing phrasing of his heartfelt plea:
• "I beseech you" (What an intensity of longing and concern!)
• "Brethren" (What personal love for the failing ones)
• "By the NAME of the LORD JESUS" (appealing to the very highest power)
• "that there be NO DIVISIONS among you" (straight to the point; -no exceptions)
• "but that ye be PERFECTLY JOINED TOGETHER" (A positive emphasis)
• "in the same mind" (the REAL answer; -the MIND OF CHRIST; -see Phil.2:5).
Surely that one verse (1 Cor.1 : 10) will be enough to make us all see the
tremendous seriousness of this matter.
3.Our third reason is based on that illuminating and heart -moving PRAYER
OF CHRIST HIMSELF, -given to us in John seventeen. We shall not be able to say
much about it here, except that the chapter shows that Christian Unity is the
uppermost concern in our Lord's present prayer ministry (See Heb. 7:25). We notice
that the prayer itself (John17) is made up of a number of different petitions; -most
of them mentioned only once - and then left. But this petition for His people's
ONENESS is repeated five times, -like a refrain running throughout the prayer (See
vs.11, 21, 21,22,23). And we can say that if THAT was true in John 17; it is also true
today as our Lord prays for us within the veil. The cry heard in Gethsemane still reechoes in heaven, -THAT THEY MAYBE ONE!
Much more cries out to be said, but, for the present, we must leave it at that.
The three reasons we have given will underline again the deep seriousness of ANY
KIND of division amongst God's redeemed people.
We now approach a section of our study, which may positively alarm many of
us. Even the very title we shall use may seem greatly exaggerated, but we know that
is not so, and we feel sure that honest and prayerful readers will soon be in
agreement with us. Our appeal will simply be to God's True Word, and the Word
itself will do its work. Let us be quiet, and allow that Word to speak to us. We shall
III. THE ESSENTIALLY CRIMINAL NATURE OF DIVISIONS IN GOD'S CHURCH.
Let me say that we, too, hesitated much about the usage of such strong
words, but, after further prayerful thought, we were inwardly assured that our terms
were quite appropriate in this case; -in fact our subject revolves around what can
only be regarded as the ultimate in all crimes. We tremble to say it, but we are
dealing with something, which could be called a repeat of Calvary! - as we shall now
The Bible makes it very plain that any dividing -up, or sectionalizing, of His
Church is, in effect, a dividing -up of Christ Himself, -and not only dividing -up Christ
personal, but dividing -up Christ corporate, or; shall we say, attempting so to do.
This, of course, is a crime unthinkable, - something beyond all telling. We shall
discuss this awful possibility in the coming paragraphs, and we do ask for earnest
and open -minded consideration of the matter, -and a humble and prayerful
approach. May God prevent anyone of us from committing, or even sanctioning, such
The most basic verse on this subject is 1 Cor.1: 13. We note that, in the
preceding verse (v.12) Paul had been rebuking the Corinthians for forming
themselves into distinct and separate "groups", according to which particular leader
they followed, or which preacher they preferred to listen to! Paul shows real shock
and alarm that anything like that should be taking place, and exclaims, "IS CHRIST
DIVIDED?" We must carefully note the wording here. Quite obviously, Paul is telling
them that their sectarianism is tantamount to dividing the Saviour Himself up into
parts! - truly a very startling thought! The perceptive Greek scholar, and translator
of many of the old classics, Dr. A.S. Way, renders the verse, "What, -has Messiah
been parted into fragments?" Again very startling, -but they tell me the rendering
does bring out the true force of the word, -a fragmentation of THE CHRIST OF GOD!
It is well to remember, here, that Paul himself had been asked a very similar
question at the time of his conversion on the Damascus road. The shining Lord from
heaven had said to him, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou ME?" The fact is that,
while Paul thought he was dealing with the few Christians at Damascus, he was
actually dealing with Christ Himself. Touching the members of Christ's Body was
touching the HEAD OF THE BODY! He was virtually mishandling the whole organism;
-Christ and His people were one great Resurrection Life together. That we believe
was the beginning of the whole revelation that Paul had
been chosen to share with the then -emerging church, -and with us all. We say it
again. -Christ and His born -again Christians ARE one Living Organism! This IS God's
glorious "Mystery"! O, - praise His Name!
Returning now to that grave matter of the divisions at Corinth, and to the
question with which the same Paul confronted them, -what do we have? Paul is just
showing them that, by their smug partisan behavior, they were virtually '. - dividing
Christ". We must carefully mark this. Paul does not say, "Is the church divided", but,
right to the point, -"IS (the corporate} CHRIST DIVIDED?", -or to use again Dr.
Way's rendering, -"What, has Messiah been PARTED INTO FRAGMENTS?". That,
indeed, was the unimaginable tragedy that was unfolding at Corinth, as they allowed
them- selves to be parted into separate groupings. In its inmost essence, that is
what it amounted to. They were dismembering the Christ of God. We may need to
modify the dark picture to some extent, but, even in its mildest form, we are left
with a picture of deep criminality, and, if we have ever encouraged divisions amongst
God's incorporated people, we have pierced the inmost feelings of the heart of God.
There is a similar verse in the epistle to the Hebrews, -something which sends
a similar shudder through the heart of any sensitive Christian. The writer speaks of
those who, (in quite a different way) were "crucifying in themselves the Son of God
afresh, and putting him to an open shame" (Heb.6:6). It is not our task, right now,
to discuss the details of that situation, -but we would say that we all need to take
into serious consideration what our own simple actions and attitudes, and decisions,
amount to when viewed from a more spiritual viewpoint, or seen by the eye of God, -
or felt in the heart of God.
An interesting Bible -Fact may now be an appropriate way of "closing off" this
section of our study. The original word, which Paul uses for "divided" in 1Cor .1: 13
("Is Christ divided?") is a derivative of the word used in the Gospels for the cruel
"parting" of our Savior’s garments at Calvary. Luke, for instance, tells' us that, "they
parted his raiment, and cast lots" '(Luke 23:34'. It would therefore be quite right to
say that, what those rough Roman soldiers were doing on that Hill, is what those
divisive Christians were doing at Corinth, when they maintained their various
allegiances and preferences, -not so very long after Calvary. They were "dividing"
the very person of Christ Himself! May God ever spare us from such an unspeakable
crime! As we said before, God sees the Saviour and the saints as ONE UNIT; -let us
ever maintain that unity, and not even appear to fragment it. To secure such a
"testimony" will involve some cost, but the Lord will help us through.
As a final observation on this point, may I say the following? There could be
some who insist that you CANNOT divide the Body of Christ, -so why be so
concerned? While we also greatly rejoice in the indivisibility of the Actual Reality, we
most certainly CAN DIVIDE that which is called of God to represent that Reality, -
here in this world, -and to depict it! (See 1 Cor.12: 27). Paul rejoiced in the
Heavenly Reality, but no one was more grieved than he by the divisions he was
witnessing on earth! We could say, too, that if that "present perfection in Heaven"
were intended to be our SOLE CONCERN, -why so many Bible exhortations regarding
a corresponding witness here below? The Holy Spirit is clearly concerned with BOTH
aspects of the Truth; -and so should we be! We do trust that this further observation
may be a help.
IV. THE WAY TOWARDS A WORTHY WITNESS IN THIS MATTER.
Up till now, it has been necessary to major on the seriousness of divisions
amongst God's people, and we have done so against the background of God's great
thought regarding His Church. He sees it, and He has made it, as ONE ORGANISM in
union with the Exalted Christ. He has, moreover, infused Christ's own Life deep into
the hearts and spirits, of all believers, whether they realize it or not. Praise God; -He
is there! Some might now be saying, -"Yes, indeed, I begin to see this Great Mystery
(Eph.5:32), and I need to be helped into this New Basis for my Christian living". We
would therefore make a few practical suggestions for any such eager ones.
1.Do not try to "get into Christ". If you are born -again you are already
THERE! The trouble is you did not realize it, and because of lack of vision you were
countenancing so many "old ideas which were robbing you of the true blessed ness
of your "new position" (See 1 Cor.1 :30).
2.Take grace from the Lord to "put off" that old man (Adam and Adamic ways)
and to "put on" the New Man (Christ and His thoughts).
3.Make the decision to "change garments" something very definite; -perhaps a
solemn heart -ceremony between you and the Lord; -like a joyous "I will" at a
marriage! (See Rom.7:4).
4. Learn a new habit of definitely referring all your inward needs to your New
Source of Supply; -Christ your Living Head. (SeeCol.2:19; Phil.4:19; John 1 :16). As
each new need arises, you COULD look up and say, audibly, Yes, I take that, too,
from Christ; -and that, -and that!
5. Actually TREAT your fellow- believers as fellow-members of Christ (whatever
may be their view); -not just as "Christians", or even as "brothers and sisters", -
something FAR deeper now; part of the Organism! The Lord will surely help us to do
just that, -and He will be glorified.
6. DO NOT SET ABOUT STARTING A NEW GROUP ACCORDING TO YOUR NEW
VISION. TELL OUT YOUR VISION, AND PRAY. CHRIST MUST BE AUTHOR AND
FINISHER. He might have much to teach you where you are. Just obey HIS moving
and HIS timings. Best of all
7. CLEAVE TO THE LORD HIMSELF, -not just to some new "understanding" that
has come to you!(Acts 11:23; Col.1:18). Nothing must ever compete with a heart -
attachment to CHRIST HIMSELF.
Those, we say, are just suggestions, and intended to be treated as such. If it all
sounds too difficult, -just forget it, and only walk on quietly with the Lord. This
matter is very much in His hands, and HE will "perfect that which concerns us"
(Psa.138:8). HE wants our Christian lives to be an unmixed joy to us, and He plans
to make them such (See Acts 16:25).
Before we close, we would like to mention what we believe are the two main
principles bound up with a full enjoyment of all that we have been talking about.
The first of these is REVELATION. By this we mean the in -shining, into the heart,
of Light from heaven. We are not thinking here of sensational dreams or "visions",
but the quiet entrance of new light on heavenly things, -in this case, a dawning upon
us of the fact and reality of a corporate Christ. (This usually brings with it both a
Hallelujah and a horror, -the horror that we had ever had a thought of
"sectionalizing" such an eternally -conceived, and eternity -bound, ORGANISM! ; -
how foolish, -how childish, -and how sinful!)
Such "revelation" usually comes to us from God's Word, -personally read, or
expounded to us through one of God's "seers", but it is always something that brings
us to the dust, -as it did with Saul of Tarsus oh the Damascus road. But, -what a
marvel; -I have been made ONE LIFE with the Risen and Exalted Second Man! All
that He has, and is, is there to be shared by me! God has again "opened my eyes"
(Psa.119:18); -the ENTRANCE OF HIS WORD has given Light (Psa.119: 130), and to
In my own case, the Light was confirmed to me while standing at the departure
pier at Southampton (UK) when a great ocean liner was about to leave. Passengers
and friends had said their "good-byes" at the quayside, and the passengers then had
to climb up the gangway and go on board. Once aboard, -most of them went higher
still to a point not so crowded, but from which they could still look down upon their
waiting (and grieving?) friends. Most of them then produced from their pockets reel
after reel of colored paper streamers and, holding one end themselves, threw the
residue down to their waiting friends, who were able to catch them al'1d thus retain
some "contact" with their travelling friends. Soon the whole side of the ship was gaily
festooned by hundreds of such fluttering paper -ribbons, -quite a sight but familiar,
probably, to most of us. But what an unexpected place for a divine REVELATION! Yet
the Lord was quietly saying to me, -"Your Saviour thus went up on high, -to the very
Throne of Glory; then, -from above, He SENT DOWN HIS RISEN AND EXALTED LIFE,
sharing IT with His "waiting friends" below, and thus establishing an everlasting and
ever -unbreakable UNION WITH HIM-SELF- like a Vine and its branches! You are IN
that organism with all your fellow -believers, and that forever. And all that He has,
He is now sharing -out with you!"
I thank God that today I see it still more clearly, and just as simply; the Life -
Bond is there, -not a flimsy color -tape, but Christ's own LIFE sent down to me from
above. And all my brethren are "holding Him" too, -and there is an equal bond with
all of them. That is the church to which I belong, and I know no other. All this went
through my mind there at the quayside. Again we say, what a very strange place for
a divine revelation of that magnitude! Praise God!
The second principle I have in mind is that of CRUCIFIXION; -an accepted
crucifixion with Christ, and an in -working of it by the Lord. Those who would live by
the New Resources must obviously abandon the old. That whole realm of Adam, in
fact, is now crucified to us and we to it. That means that the old "divisions" have
gone, too; -we are Jew and Greek no more, -East and West no more. For us, now, all
derives from CHRIST, and all is heavenly. And we find too, that all those old "gaps"
and "distances" have gone, and likewise those old "favorite labels" we may have
gloried in! And we are left with the blessedness of Psalm 133; "brethren dwelling
together in UNITY"; -one organism together, -and Christ Head over us all. All these
are resurrection enrichment; -the results of crucifixion emptying. But we would say;
-blest emptying; -blest ENRICHMENTS!
As for those old "labels", I know all too well how difficult it can be to be parted
from them, -until we have seen the Heavenly Vision. So we may say, perhaps, that
there is a cost, -if we dare to give it such an exalted name!
Reverting for a moment to that picture of the ship and the colored streamers, -it
occurs to me now that, more than likely, some of those who caught the streamers
may have needed to empty their hands of "other things" in order to catch the tapes
and to hold on to them; -perhaps a favorite walking stick, or a treasured handbag, -
and contents! Appropriating the out poured Life of the Risen and Exalted Christ does
carry "a cost(?)" for us all. But what gains will be ours; -Life -union with our Great
Heavenly Friend; -the Highly exalted Lord of All! Henceforth we are to be "enriched
BY HIM" in all things (1 Cor.1 :5).
We also mentioned Psalm 133, and that beautiful picture of "brethren dwelling
together in unity", -the happy result, we said, of being willing to "pay the price".
There can be little doubt that that small psalm (just three verses) is the most
beautiful Old Testament picture of New Testament Christian unity, -and with God
Himself "commanding" the associated blessing, -namely, -"LIFE FOR EVERMORE", or,
we could say, a LlVING-NESS that never ends! We have to remark, -"What a simple
prerequisite" (brethren in unity), -and yet, "What a sublime result", -vitality that
lasts! That, certainly, is something most desirable, -as most of us will agree!
The rest of this tiny Psalm suggests that that whole enviable situation can be
likened to two things; -the anointing OIL that flowed down from Aaron's head to the
very skirts of his garments, and then DEW that drifts in from lofty Mount Hermon
and then descends upon the (lower) mountains of Zion. It is interesting to note that,
in both cases, it was something coming from above; -the "oil" and the "dew". That
certainly throws light on the secret of Christian Unity today. The oil reminds us of
"The SPIRIT of Life in Christ Jesus"(Rom.8:2), -whilst the dew makes us think of the
beautiful freshness from heaven that came to the waiting disciples once that "oil"
came down! Much more could be said, but we simply say now what a precious little
Psalm, and what insights into what was then afar off day.
We trust you will forgive this temporary diversion, but we return now to our
theme. We have been speaking of what we believe are the two main principles bound
up with a practical enjoyment of true spiritual oneness with our Christian brethren, -
namely REVELATION and CRUCIFIXION. In other words, we see the divine plan, and
then we pay the needed price for being in it. But both of these are made possible by
the GRACE OF GOD. May He help us and hold us, and bring us right in! And all for
As we now come to the close of this message, we find it in our hearts to re-echo
some of the points we have made, -possibly amplifying them a little as the Lord
1) Regarding what we said about the GREAT IMPORTANCE OF Christian
Unity, - we do well to remember what the Lord Himself said in such verses as Mark
3:24; —"A kingdom divided against itself, cannot stand", —likewise a city or a house
(Matt.12:25). The Church, incidentally, bears each one of these three titles, but the
point is that any rift in those entities will cancel out any possibility of permanence; -
in fact it will portend looming disaster. This therefore comes as a strong warning to
those of us who are expressly called to reflect and depict on earth that Glorious
Kingdom, -as we live under the undisputed authority of our Lord. If the testimony is
to have permanence, -it, too, must not be divided.
We should note also that the downfall of historical Israel was caused by
idolatry AND ALSO DIVISION. The division came when Rehoboam came to power and
sought advice from two opposing "camps"; -the older men and the younger men (!!).
When he chose the policies advocated by the latter, it aggravated Jeroboam who
forthwith revolted, and formed the kingdom of Israel under his own leadership -(see
1 Kings 12:6-17). Not long afterwards, we find BOTH KINGDOMS judged, and
carried, piece by piece, into captivity in Babylon. (Perhaps the Lord had all that in
mind when He spoke of a divided kingdom being unable to stand). (See also
Matt.23: 37, 38).
How good it is that God now has His TRUE Israel, -"The Israel of God" (Gal.6:
16), -His heavenly and holy nation (1 Pet.2: 9), -a nation that inherits, in true
spiritual terms, all those "shadow - promises" made to historical Israel. This great
"family of faith. is God's NEW CREATION (2 Cor.5:17), where the very thought of"
Jew" or .Gentile" is obliterated, and CHRIST IS ALL, AND IN ALL. (Gal.3: 26-29;
Col.3: 11). The verses we have quoted are from the pen of the Apostle Paul, -once a
forceful "Hebrew of the Hebrews", but all those considerations are now, to him, but
"refuse"(Phil.3: 4-8). Peter too, an equally dedicated Israelite according to the flesh,
had his eyes opened after that revolutionary experience in Caesarea, and later wrote
to his scattered friends, telling them that they were now part of God's new
generation, His royal priesthood, His New nation (1 Pet.2: 9). We thank God that in
that new nation there are no divisions, -but how careful we should be that Christians
who are called to represent and reflect that Heavenly Reality should show a
2) Referring now to our earlier mention of gaps" and divisions which exist
between old and young Christians, -we would like to add that it is another sad
example of God's people yielding to world trends, and world control. It was the
world, and its evil prince (John 14:30; Eph.2:2), that first initiated, or introduced the
trend, and then imposed it on God's unsuspecting people. That was a complete
reversal of God's order (Deut.28: 13), and it reminds us of the upside -down
situation depicted in Eccles. 10:7; -a real shame for God's people, and a great
dishonor for the Lord Himself.
We suggest, too, that there is another form of separation or division that each
successive generation needs to guard against. We refer to "literature gaps" that are
made when one generation of believers fails to take advantage of anointed works
produced by gifted teachers of a previous generation. Simply because they are not
"the latest". Such were fellow-members in the same Body, and we must be careful
not to be cut off from them, and their" food supplied"! We think of men like C.H.
Spurgeon, Andrew Murray, A.W. Tozer and others whose writings and "insights" are
seldom matched these days.
Our final word must be a further re-echoing of those TWO IMPORT ANT
PRINCIPLES essential to our manifestation of real Christian oneness; -the way in to
the real experience, and the true "testimony". These, we said, were REVELATION
AND CRUCIFIXION (bound up, of course, with Resurrection). We must ask the Lord
to shine His Mystery into our hearts, for it is only when that Vision grips us that we
shall be able to pay the inevitable price for its implementation. But God is a God Who
loves to "reveal secrets" (Dan. 2:28,29,47). And it is good to remember; too, "the
secret of the Lord is with them that fear (reverence) Him" (Psa. 25:14AV). May God
help us to bow down before Him in wonder, love and praise, and to stay thus in all
situations and under all circumstances.
As for that second principle; -CRUCIFIXION, that also is an essential part of
the way. Once we have seen "the Mystery", God works it into us by way of the
Cross. If we are to live in this NEW REALM of an organic oneness with Christ and all
His members, a deep death and burial must pass overall that is only OLD and
Adamic. Much of that, we might have prized very highly before, but, if it is OLD, it
must go to the Cross. We remember how Paul, had boasted in his "old" national
standing, religious standing, etc. , but, once he saw Christ he rightly counted all
"old" things as loss (See Phil. 3:4-7). Revelation was certainly followed by a
crucifixion in his case, and he had to be led into Damascus like a blind beggar. But
that was the beginning of PAUL THE APOSTLE, living and serving IN UNION WITH his
Risen Lord. To some people, (specially those who have been religious leaders) it may
appear costly to be parted from that which, after all, is only Adamic, -only "Me", but
that is THE WA y if we are to have a NEW life and ministry in the realm of Christ-All
in all. But what indescribable benefits! - The Fellowship of the Mystery.
"One Body by the Cross" Eph. 2: 16
"No Divisions among you" 1 Cor. 1: 10
"And all that believed were TOGETHER" (Acts 2:44)