Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 14, 1956

The Unity Of The Spirit (VII.)

Robert H. Farish, Lexington, Kentucky

All who would keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace are limited to the one faith. Hence the importance of knowing what it is — its characteristics — its origin — and our responsibilities with reference to it.

The faith is the gospel. In Galatians 1:23 we read "but they only heard say, he that once persecuted us now preacheth the faith of which he once made havoc." This is. Paul's statement of the people's comment on his changed behaviour. Before his commission and conversion he was a persecutor of "the faith." But looking back to the 11th verse we lean that he preached the gospel. He says, "For I made known to you brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. To preach the faith is to preach the gospel. Anything affirmed of the gospel is true of the faith.

There is "one faith," says Paul in Ephesians 4 and in Galatians 1:8 he says, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema." No tolerance for any faith other than the "one faith" is found in the scripture. No changes in the "one faith" are tolerated, rather the anathema of heaven is pronounced on any one who would be so bold as to change the gospel.

The faith came from heaven. Galatians 1:11, 12, "For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. For neither did I receive it from man nor was I taught it; but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ." Any item which has its origin with man is foreign to the faith. Division comes when people receive items from men and attempt to incorporate them into the faith.

The one faith was once for all delivered unto the saints. (Jude 3.) This fact excludes and condemns any later revelations. The faith is complete and stands alone. For this "one faith" "once for all delivered" we are required to "contend earnestly." But it is impossible to contend for "the faith" without opposing faiths many. "The Unity of the Spirit" cannot be had by compromising the faith; all that results from such efforts is a perverted gospel. To have the unity which the Spirit requires we must preach the one faith — contend earnestly for the faith.

Jude's exhortation in Jude 3 "to contend earnestly for the faith — " was in view of the danger which threatened from ungodly men. These ungodly teachers were attacking from within — they had "crept in privily." No Christian is exempt from the responsibility to contend earnestly for the faith. This contending for the faith like preaching the word is not a seasonable thing. It must be done "in season" (when it is popular with the brethren) "and out of season" (when many become impatient at your 'harping on the same thing all the time'). Anyone hindering the efforts or weakening the effects of those who are engaged in "fighting the good fight of faith" is guilty of treason. Yet in every fierce contest for the faith, there have been those who called themselves friends of the faith, while at the same time, giving aid to the enemy, by disparaging the faithful contender.

The New Testament warns against certain things that prevent Christians maintaining proper attitudes and relationships toward the faith. In 1 Timothy 5:8, we readof those who are guilty of denying the faith. Paul wrote that "if any provideth not for his own .... he hath denied the faith." The love of money leads some "astray from the faith." (1 Tim. 6:10.) Knowledge, which is falsely so called, will cause those professing it to err concerning "the faith." (1 Tim. 6:21.) If that "knowledge" which is peculiar to modernism doesn't fall into this class (knowledge, which is falsely so called) what would?

The "one faith" came by revelation of Jesus Christ. To fail to contend for this feature is to fail to contend for the faith. The revelation for which we are to contend is that which is claimed by the Bible for itself. These claims must be pressed, and will be pressed with vigor by those who believe them. Such contending will be resented by — those who by their conduct have "denied the faith" — those who have been led "astray from the faith" — those who "have erred concerning the faith," but such is to be expected. When has the responsibility shirker, the lover of money, the wise of this world, ever manifested an humble spirit in the face of criticism? "Behold your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called." (1 Cor. 1:26.)