Two matters of great significance must be perceived and believed:
(1) The church's foundation is unique
. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ
" (I Corinthians 3:11);
(2) The church's foundation is sure
. "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his
" (II Timothy 2:19).
Here is sufficient fact:
- To stabilize the Christian's hope,
- To bolster his faith,
- To stimulate his devotion,
- To encourage his steadfastness
- To increase his expectation.
The foundation is unique because it is Christ Himself. It is sure for the same reason. Because He is eternal, all that He represents is eternal. Those who are identified with Him by faith are on the only true foundation and can rest in the assurance of its enduring stability.
The calling out of a people for His name is the wonderful theme of the glorious Gospel.
This divine operation is characterized after this manner:
- God "hath quickened us together . . . and raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus
" (Ephesians 2:5, 6).
- Also, "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works
" (Ephesians 2:10).
- And further, "to make in himself of twain one new man
" (Ephesians 2:15).
In these instances—in every instance—the operation is centered "in Christ
." His positional emphasis is always central from the "tree of life
" in the midst of the Garden of Eden in Genesis to the Lamb in the midst of the throne in Revelation. Where even two or three are gathered together in His name He is in the midst, and Calvary was no exception, for on either side was a malefactor and Jesus in the center.
Integrating into "one body
" those who believe on and receive the Lord Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit's baptizing ministry, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body
." This of course is not synonymous with joining a church, being baptized with water, or subscribing to a creed. Neither is it the "one baptism
" of Ephesians 4:5, which, by virtue of its position in the epistle, has to do with practice and not the position, with the walk and not with the birth of the Christian.
Some think the baptizing of believers into "one body
" did not begin until Paul turned to the Gentiles. But three times did Paul turn to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:28).
However, there were not three beginnings of the baptizing work of the Spirit, nor was its beginning dependent upon what any man did or did not do. Jesus said: "Ye shall be baptized with
[or in] the Holy Ghost not many days hence
" (Acts 1:5). Thus, the formation of the "body of Christ
" began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and continues in its development with the regeneration of each believing sinner. This began at Jerusalem where our Lord said it would begin (Luke 24:47), and will continue until the rapture takes place.