By Stan Brown
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;
With an abrupt change of style, Paul highlights the unity of the body of Christ in verses four through six with a series of seven elements that demonstrate that unity. Each of these elements is preceded by the word one. The Trinity is in view here as well. The Holy Spirit is emphasized in verse four, the Son in verse five and the Father in verse six. This is not Paul’s first mention of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together. They have been mentioned together five times before (1:13-14; 1:17; 2:18; 2:22; 3:14-17). In 3:14-17, Paul spoke of the Trinity: the Father (3:14 For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father), the Spirit (3:16 to be strengthened with power through His Spirit), and the Son (3:17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts).” The unity of the Godhead is on display here as Paul creates what some consider to be an anthem extolling the unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that is to be displayed in the unity of the body of Christ.
(1) There is one body. Paul’s emphasis here is on the fact that all believers of this age are joined together in one entity described as the one body. This is a remarkable statement that Paul emphasizes throughout Ephesians. Jews and Gentiles are made into one body. Gentiles do not become Jews nor do Jews become Gentiles but rather all are placed into one new entity described as one body. This unity is played out in the unity that is to exist in each local body of believers. Our unity depicts God’s unity.
(2) There is one Spirit. Paul has previously said that it is through the Holy Spirit that we have access to God (for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father (3:18)) as we are being built up into a Holy Temple where God dwells (you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (3:22)). There is one Holy Spirit who works in us to bring about unity in each and every local body of believers and among true believers everywhere. When we fail to see that unity, it is not the Holy Spirit who has failed.
(3) There is one hope of your calling. This was described in 1:18 so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. We look forward to the ultimate hope that we have in Christ and that hope is united together as one hope through the calling of the Holy Spirit. We look forward to the time when we will meet the Son in the air. We look forward to the time when we will be united together in Him for all eternity. There are not multiple hopes but rather one as we are united together in Christ as one body in Christ. We must walk worthy of this hope.
You may have noticed that although the Holy Spirit is the One mentioned in this verse, the Son is able to sneak in here as well. It seems as if mentions of the Son surround the Holy Spirit as it is one body of Christ and one hope in the return of the Son. As there is one God, it is only natural that as Paul speaks about the Holy Spirit the Son should creep into the picture. This passage is a portrayal of both the unity and distinctiveness of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This anthem that extols our God portrays the unity that exists in the body of Christ.