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Ephesians 4:4

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

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?

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

There is one body - Viz. of Christ, which is his Church.

One Spirit - The Holy Ghost, who animates this body.

One hope - Of everlasting glory, to which glory ye have been called by the preaching of the Gospel; through which ye have become the body of Christ, instinct with the energy of the Holy Ghost.

Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 88.2

Look at the cross of Calvary. It is a standing pledge of the boundless love, the measureless mercy, of the heavenly Father. O that all might repent and do their first works. When the churches do this, they will love God supremely and their neighbors as themselves. Ephraim will not envy Judah, and Judah will not vex Ephraim. Divisions will then be healed, the harsh sounds of strife will no more be heard in the borders of Israel. Through the grace freely given them of God, all will seek to answer the prayer of Christ, that His disciples should be one, even as He and the Father are one. Peace, love, mercy, and benevolence will be the abiding principles of the soul. The love of Christ will be the theme of every tongue, and it will no more be said by the true Witness, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2:4). The people of God will be abiding in Christ, the love of Jesus will be revealed, and one Spirit will animate all hearts, regenerating and renewing all in the image of Christ, fashioning all hearts alike. As living branches of the true Vine, all will be united to Christ, the living head. Christ will abide in every heart, guiding, comforting, sanctifying, and presenting to the world the unity of the followers of Jesus, thus bearing testimony that the heavenly credentials are supplied to the remnant church. In the oneness of Christ's church it will be proved that God sent His only begotten Son into the world.... TDG 88.2

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 379

The first angel's message of Revelation 14, announcing the hour of God's judgment and calling upon men to fear and worship Him, was designed to separate the professed people of God from the corrupting influences of the world and to arouse them to see their true condition of worldliness and backsliding. In this message, God has sent to the church a warning, which, had it been accepted, would have corrected the evils that were shutting them away from Him. Had they received the message from heaven, humbling their hearts before the Lord and seeking in sincerity a preparation to stand in His presence, the Spirit and power of God would have been manifested among them. The church would again have reached that blessed state of unity, faith, and love which existed in apostolic days, when the believers “were of one heart and of one soul,” and “spake the word of God with boldness,” when “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 4:32, 31; 2:47. GC 379.1

If God's professed people would receive the light as it shines upon them from His word, they would reach that unity for which Christ prayed, that which the apostle describes, “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” “There is,” he says, “one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Ephesians 4:3-5. GC 379.2

Such were the blessed results experienced by those who accepted the advent message. They came from different denominations, and their denominational barriers were hurled to the ground; conflicting creeds were shivered to atoms; the unscriptural hope of a temporal millennium was abandoned, false views of the second advent were corrected, pride and conformity to the world were swept away; wrongs were made right; hearts were united in the sweetest fellowship, and love and joy reigned supreme. If this doctrine did this for the few who did receive it, it would have done the same for all if all had received it. GC 379.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1090
Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 169.1

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; ... one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Ephesians 4:4-7. OHC 169.1

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