Last time we began our look at the fifth of seven doctrinal truths in Ephesians 4:4-6 that form the very essence of Christianity and therefore unite all true believers—is one faith. First we looked at the meaning of one Faith.
Second, there is the applications of one Faith. One application is again obvious: unity can only exist with a proper view of salvation. The hallmark of all cults and false religions is works, that a person attains salvation either in whole in or at least in part by his own efforts.
To one cult, for example, as its founder wrote, “[people] must be recovered from blindness as well as from death, that they, each for himself, may have a full chance to prove, by obedience or disobedience, their worthiness of eternal life.” As onother cult teaches, “All mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” Still another teaches, “Salvation, then is a process! But how the God of this world would blind your eyes to that!!! He tries to deceive you into thinking all there is to it is just ‘accepting Christ’ with ‘no works’—and presto-change, you are pronounced ‘saved.’ But the Bible reveals that none is yet ‘saved.’” And on it goes from religion to religion. Of course, the question arises, “But how many works are needed?” No one knows.
One world religion that is currently in vogue teaches the same philosophy—it’s just another religion of works. It is a legalistic system where a person must earn his salvation by holding to its five main doctrines, called the “Five Articles of Faith” (God, Angels, Scripture, Prophets, and Last Days), and especially following its “Five Pillars of Faith” (The Creed, Prayer, Almsgiving, Fasting, and the Pilgrimage to Mecca). This, of course, flatly denies Jesus’ own words, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jn. 14:6). You might call Him anything else you wish, but the issue is the Lord Jesus Christ—one Lord and one faith. It’s not your works, not what you might do, but in Jesus Christ alone.
Another application is equally obvious: unity can only exist with a proper view of Scripture. Another hallmark of cults is their rejection of the Scriptures as the sole, absolute, and sufficient authority. One cult founder, for example, claimed she got her teachings from the Bible but also claimed in no uncertain terms that her revelations were higher than the Bible.
The common thread through all false teaching is adherence to a second authority that supersedes the Bible when the Bible says something that men don’t like. Even evangelicals, though they say the Bible is their authority, actually replace Scripture with their own ideas and opinions. The modern “ministries” of Pragmatism, Relativism, seeker-sensitivity, user-friendliness, seeking the unchurched, and so on are man’s philosophy not God’s revelation. This issue is imbedded deep in my soul, because compromise of the Truth is common place, because the Bible is replaced with what men think not what God says.
The Bible in no uncertain terms speaks of It being the sole and sufficient authority of God. A key verse here is II Peter 1:19: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” The word “sure” is the Greek bebaios, which means “fit to tread on, having a firm foundation, durable, unshakeable, sure, reliable, and certain.” Further, used in a legal sense, it meant “valid and legal.” So, as long as we cling to the Word, we will be firm, unshakable, sure, certain, and valid.
So, the application of one faith is very clear: unity can only exist with a proper view of salvation and Scripture. The doctrine of salvation today has been reconsidered, redefined, and even rejected. Likewise, the Word of God has been mocked, maligned, and mutilated. But one of the very foundations stones of unity is that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, apart from any merit or works and the acceptance of the Bible as the only inspired, infallible, authoritative, and sufficient revelation to man. Opinions vary, experiences change, methods will adjust, but God’s Word lasts forever.