Ephesians 4:4
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) There is one body, and one Spirit.—The words “There is” are not in the original, which starts with a striking abruption, and with that terse concentration of thought and word which marks out an embryo creed.

The “one body” is the Body of Christ, “from whom it is fitly framed, joined together, and compacted,” so that in every part “it grows up into Him.” But this communion with God in Christ being “the life eternal,” the Holy Ghost, by making it effectual alike to the Church and to the individual soul, is the “Lord and Giver of Life.” Hence, His presence is spoken of as being to the body of Christ what the spirit is to the natural body—the uniting and vivifying power for all its members. Under the same idea we have (in 1Corinthians 12:13), as a description of the first entrance into the Church of Christ, “By one Spirit are we all baptised into one body . . . and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

Even as ye are (or rather, were) called in one hope of your calling.—The connection, though not at first obvious, is clear on consideration. Since the grace of the Holy Spirit is not only the “seal” of regeneration, but also the “earnest” (Ephesians 1:14) of future perfection, the mention of the one Spirit suggests naturally the “hope of our calling” (i.e., the perfect unity of heaven). In this, in spite of all natural and spiritual inequalities, and in spite even of our divisions and strifes upon earth, all Christians are still actually one. Hence the communion of saints is perhaps most clearly realised in the times of high spiritual aspiration, and in the near presence of death.

Ephesians 4:4-6. The apostle proceeds to remind the believers at Ephesus of some of the many very powerful considerations which had force enough, if attended to and laid to heart, to induce them to cultivate and preserve the unity to which he exhorts them. There is one body — One mystical body of Christ, of which he is the living head, and ye all are members; and as such should sympathize with, care for, and assist one another, as the members of the human body do. And in this one body there is one Divine Spirit — Which enlivens, actuates, and fills it, and under his influence it should be your constant concern to act; even as ye are called in one hope of your calling — To the expectation of one and the same common heaven, one and the same glorious abode in the eternal world. One Lord — And Master, of whom you are all servants; one Redeemer and Saviour, who hath assumed our frail nature, lived and died for us, that he might unite us in bonds of mutual, fervent, and everlasting love; one faith — In that one Lord, and in the truths of one and the same divine revelation, all which are designed and calculated to bind the disciples together in the pleasing bonds of love and unity; one outward baptism — Or seal of the covenant of grace, and emblem of the washing of regeneration. One God and Father of all — Whose real people, whose true worshippers, whose beloved children, whose living temples you are; who is above you all — Ruling you as his subjects, and presiding over you as his children; through you all — By his enlightening and directing word; and in you all — By his quickening, sanctifying, and comforting Spirit. Such are the reasons and motives obliging the true disciples of Christ to love and unity with one another; reasons and motives most powerful surely to bind them together in peace and harmony, and such as manifest discord, contention, strife, and division, to be unspeakably unreasonable.

4:1-6 Nothing is pressed more earnestly in the Scriptures, than to walk as becomes those called to Christ's kingdom and glory. By lowliness, understand humility, which is opposed to pride. By meekness, that excellent disposition of soul, which makes men unwilling to provoke, and not easily to be provoked or offended. We find much in ourselves for which we can hardly forgive ourselves; therefore we must not be surprised if we find in others that which we think it hard to forgive. There is one Christ in whom all believers hope, and one heaven they are all hoping for; therefore they should be of one heart. They had all one faith, as to its object, Author, nature, and power. They all believed the same as to the great truths of religion; they had all been admitted into the church by one baptism, with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, as the sign of regeneration. In all believers God the Father dwells, as in his holy temple, by his Spirit and special grace.There is one body - One church - for so the word "body" means here - denoting the body of Christ; see the notes on Romans 12:5; compare notes on Ephesians 1:23. The meaning here is, that as there is really but one church on earth, there ought to be unity. The church is, at present, divided into many denominations. It has different forms of worship, and different rites and ceremonies. It embraces those of different complexions and ranks in life, and it cannot be denied that there are often unhappy contentions and jealousies in different parts of that church. Still, there is but one - "one holy, catholic (i. e., universal) church;" and that church should feel that it is one. Christ did not come to redeem and save different churches, and to give them a different place in heaven. He did not come to save the Episcopal communion merely or the Presbyterian or the Methodist communions only; nor did he leave the world to fit up for them different mansions in heaven. He did not come to save merely the black man, or the red, or the white man; nor did he leave the world to set up for them separate mansions in the skies. He came that he might collect into one community a multitude of every complexion, and from every land, and unite them in one great brotherhood on earth, and ultimately assemble them in the same heaven. The church is one. Every sincere Christian is a brother in that church, and has an equal right with all others to its privileges. Being one by the design of the Saviour they should be one in feeling; and every Christian, no matter what his rank, should be ready to hail every other Christian as a fellow-heir of heaven.

One Spirit - The Holy Spirit. There is one and the self-same Spirit that dwells in the church The same Spirit has awakened all enlightened all; convicted all; converted all. Wherever they may be, and whoever, yet there has been substantially the same work of the Spirit on the heart of every Christian. There are circumstantial differences arising from diversities of temperament, disposition, and education; there may be a difference in the depth and power of his operations on the soul; there may be a difference in the degree of conviction for sin and in the evidence of conversion, but still there are the same operations on the heart essentially produced by the same Spirit; see the notes on 1 Corinthians 12:6-11. All the gifts of prayer, and of preaching; all the zeal, the ardor, the love, the self-denial in the church, are produced by the same Spirit. There should be, therefore, unity. The church is united in the agency by which it is saved; it should be united in the feelings which influence its members.

Even as ye are called - see Ephesians 4:1. The sense is, "there is one body and one spirit, in like manner as there is one hope resulting from your calling." The same notion of oneness is found in relation to each of these things.

In one hope of your calling - In one hope "resulting from" your being called into his kingdom. On the meaning of the word "hope," see notes on Ephesians 2:12. The meaning here is, that Christians have the same hope, and they should therefore be one. They are looking forward to the same heaven; they hope for the same happiness beyond the grave. It is not as on earth among the people of the world, where, there is a variety of hopes - where one hopes for pleasure, and another for honor, and another for gain; but there is the prospect of the same inexhaustible joy. This "hope" is suited to promote union. There is no rivalry - for there is enough for all. "Hope" on earth does not always produce union and harmony. Two men hope to obtain the same office; two students hope to obtain the same honor in college; two rivals hope to obtain the same hand in marriage - and the consequence is jealousy, contention, and strife. The reason is, that but one can obtain the object. Not so with the crown of life - with the rewards of heaven. All may obtain "that" crown; all may share those rewards. How "can" Christians contend in an angry manner with each other, when the hope of dwelling in the same heaven swells their bosoms and animates their hearts?

4. In the apostle's creed, the article as to THE Church properly follows that as to THE Holy Ghost. To the Trinity naturally is annexed the Church, as the house to its tenant, to God His temple, the state to its founder [Augustine, Enchiridion, c. 15]. There is yet to be a Church, not merely potentially, but actually catholic or world-wide; then the Church and the world will be co-extensive. Rome falls into inextricable error by setting up a mere man as a visible head, antedating that consummation which Christ, the true visible Head, at His appearing shall first realize. As the "SPIRIT" is mentioned here, so the "Lord" (Jesus), Eph 4:5, and "God the Father," Eph 4:6. Thus the Trinity is again set forth.

hope—here associated with "the Spirit," which is the "earnest of our inheritance" (Eph 1:13, 14). As "faith" is mentioned, Eph 4:5, so "hope" here, and "love," Eph 4:2. The Holy Spirit, as the common higher principle of life (Eph 2:18, 22), gives to the Church its true unity. Outward uniformity is as yet unattainable; but beginning by having one mind, we shall hereafter end by having "one body." The true "body" of Christ (all believers of every age) is already "one," as joined to the one Head. But its unity is as yet not visible, even as the Head is not visible; but it shall appear when He shall appear (Joh 17:21-23; Col 3:4). Meanwhile the rule is, "In essentials, unity; in doubtful questions, liberty; in all things, charity." There is more real unity where both go to heaven under different names than when with the same name one goes to heaven, the other to hell. Truth is the first thing: those who reach it, will at last reach unity, because truth is one; while those who seek unity as the first thing, may purchase it at the sacrifice of truth, and so of the soul itself.

of your calling—the one "hope" flowing from our "calling," is the element "IN" which we are "called" to live. Instead of privileged classes, as the Jews under the law, a unity of dispensation was henceforth to be the common privilege of Jew and Gentile alike. Spirituality, universality, and unity, were designed to characterize the Church; and it shall be so at last (Isa 2:2-4; 11:9, 13; Zep 3:9; Zec 14:9).

There is one body; i.e. the church of Christ, Ephesians 1:23: see Colossians 3:15.

And one Spirit; the self-same Spirit of Christ in that body by which all the members live and act, 1 Corinthians 12:11,13.

Even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one inheritance in heaven, to the hope of which ye are called, Colossians 1:12.

Hope, for the thing hoped for, as Colossians 1:5: see 1 Peter 1:3,4.

There is one body,.... The church; in what sense that is a body, and compared to one; see Gill on Ephesians 1:23. It is called "one" with relation to Jews and Gentiles, who are of the same body, and are reconciled in one body by Christ, and are baptized into it by the Spirit; and with respect to saints above and saints below, who make up one general assembly; and with regard to separate societies; for though there are several particular congregations, yet there is but one church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven; and saints of different ages, places, states, and conditions, are all one in Christ Jesus, who is the one, and only head of this body: and this is an argument to excite the saints to unity of Spirit; since they are, as one natural body is, members one of another, and therefore should not bite and devour one another; they are one political body, one kingdom, over which Christ is sole King and lawgiver, and a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand; they are one economical body, one family, they are all brethren, and should not fall out by the way.

And one Spirit; the Holy Spirit of God, who animates, quickens, and actuates the body: there is but one Spirit, who convinces of sin, enlightens, regenerates, and makes alive; who incorporates into the body, the church; who comforts the saints; helps them in their access to God through Christ; makes known the things of Christ to them, is a spirit of adoption, and the seal and earnest of the heavenly glory; and the consideration of this should engage to unity, because a contrary conduct must be grieving to the Spirit of God, unsuitable to his genuine fruits, and very unlike the true spirit of a Christian: and by one spirit may be meant the spirit of themselves, who, as the first Christians were, should be of one heart, and of one soul, of the same mind, and having the same affections for one another; which sense is favoured by the Syriac and Arabic versions; the former rendering the words, "that ye may be one body and one spirit", making this to be the issue and effect of their endeavours after union and peace; and the latter reads them as an exhortation, "be ye one body and one spirit"; that is, be ye cordially and heartily united in your affections to one another:

even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; that is, the glory hoped for, and which is laid up in heaven, and will be enjoyed there, to which the saints are called in the effectual calling, is one and the same: there are no degrees in it; it will be equally possessed by them all; for they are all loved with the same love, chosen in the same head, and secured in the same covenant; they are bought with the same price of Christ's blood, and are justified by the same righteousness; they are all equally the sons of God, and so heirs of the same heavenly inheritance; and are all made kings and priests unto God, and there is but one kingdom, one crown, one inheritance for them all; and the holiness and beatific vision of the saints in heaven will be alike; and therefore they should be heartily affected to one another here on earth, who are to be partners together in glory to all eternity. So the Jews say (p), that in the world of souls, all, small and great, stand before the Lord; and they have a standing alike; for in the affairs of the soul, it is fit that they should be all "equal", as it is said Exodus 30:15, "the rich shall not give more".

(p) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 154. 2.

{4} There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

(4) An argument of great weight for an earnest displaying of brotherly love and charity with one another, because we are made one body as it were of one God and Father, by one Spirit, worshipping one Lord with one faith, and consecrated to him with one baptism, and having hope of one self same glory, unto which we are called. Therefore, whoever breaks charity, breaks all of these things apart.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ephesians 4:4, on to Ephesians 4:6. Objective relations of unity, to which the non-compliance with what is demanded in Ephesians 4:3 would be contradictory,[200] and which are consequently meant to incite towards compliance,—but without γάρ (comp. Dissen, ad Pind. Exc. II. p. 277), which gives greater animation to the discourse. The simple ἐστί is to be supplied (comp. 1 Corinthians 10:17); for the discourse is not hortatory, as it is taken to be by Pelagius, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Calvin, Camerarius, Estius, Zachariae, Morus, Koppe, and others, including Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 128, with which Ephesians 4:5-6 would not be in accord; for the same reason also the words are not to be attached appositionally to σπουδάζοντες (Bleek), but they are independent and purely assertive: there is one body and one Spirit. On ἓν σῶμα, by which the totality of Christians as corpus (Christi) mysticum is meant, comp. Ephesians 2:16; Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 1 Corinthians 12:13; on ἓν πνεῦμα, which is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of that corpus mysticum, Ephesians 2:18; 1 Corinthians 12:13. The explanation: “one body and one soul” (“quasi diceret, nos penitus corpore et anima, non ex parte duntaxat, debere esse unitos,” Calvin), is excluded, as at variance with the context, by the specifically Christian character of the other elements, and rendered impossible by the correct supplying of ἐστί (not esse debetis).

καθὼς καὶ ἐκλήθ. κ.τ.λ.] with which unity (ἓν σ. κ. ἓν πν.) the relation also of your calling is in keeping (comp. Colossians 3:15), which took place by the fact that (ἐν instrumental, see on Galatians 1:6) one hope (namely, that of the eternal Messianic bliss) was communicated to you; for all in fact were called by God to this very Messianic σωτηρία (Php 3:14).

τῆς κλήσ. ὑμῶν] genitive, as at Ephesians 1:18. Bengel, we may add, aptly remarks: “Spiritus est arrhabo, atque ideo cum ejus mentione conjongitur spes haereditatis.” Comp. also Clem. Cor. I. 46.

[200] These set forth—(1) the church itself constituted on the footing of unity—one body, one Spirit, one blessed consummation, ver. 4; (2) means, by which the constitution of it as an unity is produced and preserved—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, ver. 5; (3) the supreme ruler, disposer, and sustainer of this entire unity—one God and Father, etc., ver. 6. Observe the threefold tripartite arrangement.

Ephesians 4:4. ἓν σῶμα καὶ ἓν πνεῦμα: There is one body and one Spirit. This is not to be taken as part of the exhortation, ἐστέ or γίνεσθε being understood (Calv., Est., Hofm., etc.); for that would not be consistent with the following εἷς Κύριος, εἷς Θεός. It is a positive statement, made all the more impressive by the lack of γάρ or any connecting particle, and giving the objective ground, or basis in fact, on which the walk in lowliness, meekness, long-suffering and loving forbearance is urged, and of which it should be the result. The σῶμα is the whole fellowship of believers, the mystical body of Christ (cf. Ephesians 2:16; Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 1:24). The Πνεῦμα, as in Ephesians 2:18, is the Holy Spirit who is in the Church and in whom we are “baptised into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). The idea that this great sentence means only that we are to be united so as to be one body and one soul, though supported by Calvin, is out of harmony with the larger scope of the following verses, and in any case stands or falls with the view that this verse is part of the exhortation.—καθὼς καὶ ἐκλήθητε ἐν μιᾷ ἐλπίδι τῆς κλήσεως ὑμῶν: even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling. καθὼς (late Greek for the καθά, καθό, καθάπερ of the Atticists and the earlier writers; cf. under Ephesians 1:4, Ephesians 3:3 above) illustrates and enforces the unity as something entirely in accordance with their calling, the καί marking this as a second thought suggested by the first. The ἐν may be instrumental (so Mey., referring to Galatians 1:6), the point then being that the calling came by means of one hope, viz., that of the Messianic salvation. But it is rather = in, expressing the ethical domain or element in which the calling took place (Ell.). The κλήσεως is the gen. of origin or efficient cause, = the hope originated or wrought in you by your calling, as in Ephesians 1:18 (Ell., Mey.); rather than the gen. of possess., = the hope belonging to your calling. The fact that, when they were called out of heathenism, one and the same hope was born in them, is a fact in perfect keeping with the unity of the Christian body and the unity of the Divine Spirit operating in it, and the one confirms and illumines the other.

4. one body] See on Ephesians 1:23; Ephesians 2:15-16; and below, Ephesians 4:15-16. Here as always the imagery of the Body suggests not only union but united energy and operation.—Its frequent recurrence emphasizes its importance and significance. Vital union with Christ, by the Spirit, is the one true secret of holy growth and action, alike for the individual and the community.—The “one” is highly emphatic. As regards the vital Union, there is one Organism, and one only. Let the relations of practical Christian life and work correspond to that fact, to the utmost possible.

one Spirit] The same Divine Spirit as above, Ephesians 4:3. He, the immediate Agent in regeneration (John 3), unites each regenerate individual to the Head, and, as the Sanctifier, maintains that union. He is thus comparable to the all-pervading spirit energizing and preserving the human frame.

Bengel remarks on the close sequence, in the “Apostles’ Creed,” of the articles of the Holy Ghost and of the Holy Church. Cp. at large 1 Corinthians 12.

ye are called] Perhaps a special reference to the work of the Holy Ghost, the immediate Agent in the “call” of grace. Cp. 1 Corinthians 12:13.—Lit. and better, ye were called.

in one hope of your calling] On the “hope” and the “calling,” see on Ephesians 1:18. They were called “in” the hope; i. e., so as to be in it, embraced and possessed by it.—On the spiritual power of the “one hope” cp. Colossians 1:4, for a real parallel. There, the “love for all the saints” is (lit.) “on account of the hope laid up in heaven.” The community of blissful prospect binds faster the communion of sympathy and affection.

Ephesians 4:4. Ἓν σῶμα καὶ ἓν πνεῦμα, one body and one Spirit) In the Apostles’ Creed, the article relating to the Church properly follows the article relating to the Holy Spirit.—καὶ ἓν, and one) Spirit, Lord, God and Father: the Trinity; comp. the following verses.—ἐν μιᾷ ἐλπίδι, in one hope) The Spirit is the earnest, and therefore the hope of the inheritance is joined with the mention of His name.

Verses 4-6. - WHEREIN UNITY CONSISTS - SEVEN PARTICULARS. There is one body (see Ephesians 2:16). The Church is an organic whole, of which believers are the members, and Christ the Head, supplying the vitalizing power: The real body, being constituted by vital union with Christ, is not synonymous with any single outward society. One Spirit; viz. the Holy Spirit, who alone applies the redemption of Christ, and works in the members of the Church the graces of the new creation. As ye also were called in one hope of your calling. This is one of the re-suits of the Spirit's work; when the Spirit called you he inspired you all with one hope, and this one hope was involved in the very essence of your calling (comp. Titus 2:13, "Looking for the blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ"). To all believers the Spirit imparted this one blessed hope. One Lord; Jesus Christ, unique and beyond comparison: as Teacher, all hang on his words; as Master, all own his supreme authority; to his example all refer as the standard; his likeness all covet as the highest excellence (where Mary is worshipped, though nominally you have but one Lord, virtually you have two). One faith; not objective in the sense of creed, but as denoting the one instrument of receiving salvation (Ephesians 2:8), the one belief in the one Savior by which we are justified, adopted, and in other ways blessed. One baptism. One initiatory rite admitting into the visible Church - baptism in name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, symbolic of the washing of regeneration, the one way of entering the Church invisible. One God and Father of all. We rise now to the fountain of Godhead, the one supreme Being with whom all have to do, the only Being who is or can be the Father of us all; who can be to us what is implied in the name "Father," who, so love and grace can satisfy our hearts. Who is over all; the supreme and only Potentate, exercising undivided jurisdiction, "doing according to his will in the armies of heaven." etc. And through all; pervading the whole universe, sustaining and ruling it, not dwelling apart from his works, but pervading them; not, however, in any pantheistical sense, but as a personal God, whose essence is separate from his works. And in all. A closer and more abiding influence; he dwells in them, and walks in them, molding their inner being, and filling them with his own light and love. Some commentators of mark have tried to find a reference to each of the persons of the Godhead in the three prepositions over, through, and by, but this seems a strained view. The three persons, however, appear clearly in the seven elements of unity, but, as before (Ephesians 3:16-19), in the reverse of the common order - first, the Spirit; second, the Son; and third, the Father. These seven elements constitute the true rarity of the Church. It is out of the question to identify the Church which is thus one, with any external organization like the Roman Catholic Church. How many millions have been connected with it who have notoriously been destitute of the one hope, the one Spirit, the one Father! It is of the invisible Church the apostle speaks, and his exhortation is, seeing that this blessed sevenfold unity is the unity wrought by the Holy Spirit, maintain that unity; maintain the manifestation of it; give no occasion to any one to say that there is no such unity - that the Holy Ghost is a Spirit of confusion and not a Spirit of order and unity. Ephesians 4:4The connection with the preceding verses is as follows: I exhort you to unity, for you stand related to the Church, which is one body in Christ; to the one Spirit who informs it; to the one hope which your calling inspires; to the one Lord, Christ, in whom you believe with one common faith, and receive one common sign of that faith, baptism. Above all, to the one God and Father.

Body - Spirit

The body is the invisible Church, the mystical body of Christ: the Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Πνεῦμα spirit, is never used in the New Testament of temper or disposition.

Even as

To the facts of one body and one Spirit corresponds the fact of their calling in one hope. Compare Colossians 3:15.

In one hope of your calling (ἐν μιᾷ ἐλπίδι τῆς κλήσεως ὑμῶν)

In, not by. Their calling took place in the one hope as its moral element or sphere, since they were called to fellowship with Christ who is the one object and the one inspirer of hope. Compare called in peace, 1 Corinthians 7:15; in sanctification, 1 Thessalonians 4:7 (Rev.). Hope here is not the object but the principle of hope. The phrase hope of your calling signifies hope which is characteristic of God's call to salvation, and is engendered by it. See on Ephesians 1:18.

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