An Open Letter
Beloved of God (Col. 3:12)… heirs together of the grace of life (1 Pet. 3:7) and accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1:6).
How graciously and lovingly the Holy Spirit brings to our minds the eternal, spiritual and very practical truth that apart from our Lord Jesus Christ — the Church, His Body is nothing. Christ is the Head. All power and authority are derived directly from Him. Our risen Lord is seated at the right hand of God… over… all principality and might and dominion and every name that is named … and we are seated there with Him (Eph. 1).
What is taught in the Word of God is not theory. It is not the expression of beautiful, pious language or of impractical visions. The truths of the Word of God are of glorious significance to all who will receive them by faith.
The power of the Church, the Body of Christ, is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of Truth (John 14:7). The Spirit of Truth proceeds from the Father, brings all things to remembrance and testifies of Christ — of Christ alone.
The unity of the Body is the unity of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:3). Indwelt by the same Holy Spirit, every child of God can enjoy the blessing of spiritual unity among all those who are guided by the same Holy Spirit. He is not the Spirit of confusion, but of unity and love (1 Cor. 14:33). Flowing from this truth the Apostle Paul draws an illustration that reflects this truth in terms we understand so easily (Eph.5).
The Church is a family unit and as such can only remain intact and be effective as each individual family members recognize and accept his responsibility before God and his fellow-members. This recognition involves the faithful support of each; just as a faithful husband supports his family.
It is fitting that the image of marriage, given to us in Ephesians 5 is carried to the smaller unit of the local church. No church can be strong and grow without the loving, faithful support of individuals who have pledged themselves to strengthen this family unit physically, spiritually and financially. This type of support is seen within the context of their unconditional surrender and undivided loyalty to Christ, who is the Head of the Church.
The bonds of fellowship would appear to involve the same sense of responsibility and fidelity as that characterizing a strong, loving and sharing family unit. No family can remain intact when a husband “desiring to be free” shares the devotion and support of his wife with another. Each of them has assumed and willingly declared their vows and are no longer free. This voluntary relationship, though it involves a termination of certain freedoms, opens a way for mutual effort in the bonds of holy love. This freedom to love and to welcome the gift of another’s love, provides the stable foundation for growth, prosperity and joy within the family. This can only be true as mutual joys and responsibilities are responsibly shared.
Every injunction given to us in the Word of God needs to be scrutinized in the light of the total commandments given to us by God. Every command needs to be scrutinized in the light of the total commitment expected from each of us by God. None are so insignificant as to be exempt—none so exalted so as to be immune.
Commending you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all of them that are sanctified (Acts 20:32), it is the prayer of one who labours with you “that in all things He might have the pre-eminence” (Col. 1:18).
A servant in Christ. H. M.