4For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another.
4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
The modern ecumenical movement has made a profound impact on the contemporary Christian understanding of unity. But what overlap, if any, does this movement have with biblical unity? In this sermon on Romans 12:4–5 titled “One Body,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds that an essential point for evangelical Christians to remember is the inevitability of the unity of the church. Because the church is a spiritual society called the body of Christ, there will necessarily be true unity. Striving to maintain visible unity is a necessity because evangelical Christians believe what the Bible says. Still, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, the character of the church’s unity is spiritual – it cannot be manufactured by people as it is the supernatural result of the creative work of the Holy Spirit. Only when a person is born again and baptized into the body of Christ can genuine Christian unity occur. This along with the error of separating unity from the whole person – in a particular a person’s mind through doctrine – is the biggest error of the ecumenical movement. While some Christians rally around the claim “doctrine divides,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones offers a pointed biblical challenge saying there cannot be true unity by suppressing thought and denying a person’s ability to think about truth. Evangelical Christians need to hear afresh this important message on Christian unity, doctrine, and the ecumenical moment.
- The church is the body of Christ. All true believers are members of this one body.
- The church is one. There is only one head (Christ) and one body (the church).
- The character of the unity is that it is a spiritual unity. It is supernatural and divine.
- The unity of the church is the result of the creative work of the Holy Spirit. He gives us new birth and baptizes us into the body of Christ.
- The unity is a unity of the whole man, including the mind. Doctrine is essential to unity.
- The early church continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. Doctrine comes first.
- There are many verses that show the importance of doctrine and truth to the Christian faith and unity.
- It is only understanding and the inclusion of the mind that keeps us together in unity. Doctrine preserves unity.
- Error and heresy divide. Doctrine and unity are not opposites. Unity is unity in faith and doctrine.
The Book of Romans
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.