4. The Priority of His Church
One Lord: Unity with Others Based on Union with Christ
All who believe in the substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation are spiritually united to Him by faith, and, consequently, are also united to one another as members of His body (Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 12:27; Eph 4:15–16). While Christians are to commit themselves in membership to individual local churches, we believe in one universal church, comprised of all those who have trusted in Christ as Savior and Lord (Eph 1:22–23; 5:23; Col 1:18, 24). Christian unity consists not in any denominational, geographical, ethnic, or cultural commonalities, but supremely in common union to Jesus Christ by faith alone (2 Cor 5:16; Gal 3:28; 6:15; Col 3:11).
One Faith: Unity Grounded in Doctrinal Truth
While Christ Himself is the substance of our unity, the ground of our unity is our common confession of the faith once for all delivered to the saints, that body of sound doctrine set forth in Holy Scripture (1 Tim 3:9; 4:6; Jude 1:3). Preeminent among this is the Gospel message of the holiness of the Triune God, the sinfulness of man and his total inability to commend himself to God, the Savior’s substitutionary life, death, and resurrection on behalf of His people, and the call to receive salvation through faith in Christ alone (Acts 2:22–40; 3:13–21; 13:32–39; 1 Cor 15:1–4; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:10–14; Eph 2:8–9).
One Spirit: Unity Expressed through the Fruit and Gifts of the Spirit
All true believers under the New Covenant are permanently sealed and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who by grace empowers them to manifest the fruit of the Spirit in lives of practical holiness and service (Rom 8:9–17; 2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Gal 5:16–25; Eph 1:13–14). Upon receiving the Holy Spirit at conversion, each believer receives a set of spiritual gifts which he must lovingly exercise unto the edification of the body and unto the glory of God in Christ (1 Cor 12:7; 14:12; Eph 4:7–16; 1 Pet 4:10–11).