Theme: Personal maturity is the substance of unity in the local church.

Paul’s plea for unity in verse 3 is based on 7 doctrinal truths which form the Profound Source of our Worthy Walk. Doctrine is the foundation of righteous living, and spiritual oneness is the foundation of an effective church family. We must be in agreement on doctrine of Christ, then agree on the character and conduct our worthy walk. Understanding and pursuing spiritual maturity maintains our unity.


Peace is the belt that holds practical unity together. We have positional peace with God through justification by Jesus Christ. God no longer measures us by our failures or success but loves us in Jesus Christ. We are to love others the same way.

Paul shares Seven Doctrinal “One”s to strengthen our understanding of how equipped we are to maintain the blessings of our Spirit-given unity.

One Body
This tells us of God’s impartiality in saving souls from a multitude of backgrounds. Now we are all defined by Jesus Christ, part of one family with a new character, purpose, and future. “Body” refers not to the physical group of people in a church but the spiritual body God has formed us into. The Spirit’s work comes before any visible unification.

One Spirit
God the Holy Spirit is mentioned first in this passage because He is the one active in regeneration and creating unity. The Spirit is our deposit and seal; He draws us, indwells us and illuminates the Scripture for us.
We must not forget that the Spirit is a Person, with a personality. He loves to develop our relationship with our Savior and the Father. Any other spirit will direct us away from Christ and must be resisted.

One Hope
In Christ, we have the hope of our calling, an inheritance, the resurrection, and future fellowship with Christ (Ephesians 1:13-14, 18). The Christian’s hope is certain and unchanging because it is based in God’s own character. Our hope purifies and matures us, compelling us to become more like our Savior.

One Lord
When the Old Testament was translated into Greek, the personal name of God, Yahweh or Jehovah, was translated as “Kurios” or Lord. That Jesus is called Lord repeatedly in the New Testament confirms that He is indeed God in the flesh. Jesus is referred to as Lord over 20 times just in Ephesians.
The first-century mind would understand this word as the single authority, owner, and sovereign over one’s life. As one author said, “We are his slaves, and herein consists all of our liberty.” We are free to live under Jesus’ governance. Another said that to understand Christ as Lord is to know “absolute subjection to truth and holiness, only it is to a Person who is infinite in knowledge and excellence.” Aren’t you glad to serve a King who can do no wrong?

One Faith
In this context, faith is not a certain creed but the experience of being born again in Jesus Christ. There is only one way to be saved and reconciled with our Creator.

One Baptism
Baptism is a public testimony that one undergoes after being born again. We identify ourselves with the one spiritual body of Christ. This act of obedience comes second to the internal change brought about by the Spirit.

One God and Father
God is the one who sustains us and personally fathers us by the live-giving presence of His Son Jesus Christ. This applies to all the saints through all time. As one called out of the world into a local church, God is sovereign over all the events of your life. His energy works through us (Ephesians 2:10). He has set up His presence in our hearts. This is all for the purpose of taking the Gospel to the world.

Application Points

  • God no longer measures us by our failures or success. Do you love others the same whether they disappoint you or make you glad? This is your contribution to the peace that maintains spiritual unity.
  • Does the Lord’s return loom over you like a dark cloud, or do you joyfully anticipate it? This reveals much about your maturity and obedience. Read 1 Thessalonians and examine the character traits of those who look forward to His return.
  • Do you live with Jesus as the Lord of your life? Does God call the shots or do you? As one redeemed by God, you no longer get to do what you want to do, but you have liberty to live according to God’s character and obey His Word. Part of us resists this, but we should be happy to follow Someone who can do no wrong! What areas of your life do you need to surrender to Him?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:

  • Romans 5:1-5 – Our positional peace with God lasts forever.
  • Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 10:17, Ephesians 1:22-23 – We are one body in Christ.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 – Spiritual unity comes first, then practical.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:5, Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 4:30, John 6:44, 1 Corinthians 3:16 – the work of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life.
  • 1 John 4:1-2 – Warning against other spirits that do not acknowledge Jesus as the way to Heaven.
  • 1 John 3:1-3 – Our hope matures us in living holy lives.
  • Hebrews 1:8, 1 Timothy 2:5 – Jesus is God.
  • Romans 14:9, Ephesians 1:10 – Jesus died to purchase our freedom and be our Lord. In time, He will bring all things under God’s subjection.
  • Acts 4:12 – Only one name can save.
  • John 17:21, Matthew 28:19-20 – The purpose for Jesus’ church.
  • Daniel 12:3 – The glory of winning souls.

A Hymn to Encourage: “The Church’s One Foundation”

The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is His new creation
By water and the Word:
From heav’n He came and sought her
To be His holy Bride;
With His own blood He bought her,
And for her life He died.

Elect from every nation,
Yet one o’er all the earth;
Her charter of salvation,
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses,
With every grace endued.

’Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace for evermore;
‘Til, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.