The third of seven doctrinal truths in Ephesians 4:4-6 that form the very essence of Christianity and therefore unite all true believers is one hope or our calling.
First, there is the meaning of one hope. As we studied back in 1:18, the Greek behind hope does not picture uncertainty, such as a wish or want, as it does in English. Rather it speaks of absolute assurance and rest in that assurance. There is, therefore, one hope, one certainty to which the true Believer looks: the return of Jesus Christ for His Church. Our calling refers to our calling to salvation, and the final hope, the final certainty of that salvation is the return of our Savior.
There are differing main views of the Second Coming of Christ: Amillennialism, Post-Millennialism, and Premillennialism. While there are very important differences in these views, they all do have one thing in common: all of them hold that Jesus Christ WILL return. That is really what matters most. Why? Because that is what Scripture says. As Revelation 19:11-16 record: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Then, in the last chapter of the Bible, we read twice our Lord’s promise: “Behold, I come quickly” (Rev. 22:7, 12), and then read it again intensified in verse 20, “Surely I come quickly.”
That is our one hope, our certainty. As Paul wrote to the Colossians, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). Christ is, indeed, the only glory we should ever seek and the one hope to which we look.
Second, the application of one hope is that unity exists with a proper view of Christ’s return, that is, that He will return to the Earth as the Scripture says. One well-known cult, for example, teaches that Christ returned invisibly in 1914 and set up His kingdom in Heaven, but this is in direct contradiction to Scripture. At Christ’s ascension, two angels in the form of men announced, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). The Lord’s coming, then, will be a visible kingdom on Earth, not an invisible Kingdom in Heaven.
This brings up the question, “What about those who don’t agree on their view of Christ’s return? Can a Premillennialist, for example, possibly fellowship with an Amillennialist?” There is today much unnecessary division here. Some who believe one view would not even consider fellowshipping with someone who holds another. But can this possibly honor the Lord? Is that “[keeping] the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?” (v. 3). I, for example, am convinced that Premillenialism is correct. I believe without question that the reference in Revelation 20:4 and 6 to those who will “[live] and [reign] with Christ a thousand years” refers to a literal earthly Kingdom that will last 1,000 years. But at the same time, I can still fellowship with a brother in Christ who believes that the Kingdom is spiritual not literal. While I certainly think he is wrong and is missing a great blessing, what matters most is that we both know that our Lord is coming back to take us to glory. That is what matters.