The Unity of the Spirit - Part 7

Posted in: 2009
By Tom L. Ballinger
Dec 4, 2009 - 11:15:55 AM

November 30, 2009


“One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5)


The fifth feature of the Unity of the Spirit is that of the ONE FAITH. Here, the word is a metonymy in which “faith” is put for that which is believed. The word, “faith,” is defined, very clearly, in Hebrews 11:1 and Romans 10:17.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”        (Heb. 11:1).

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).

Looking at the dictionary’s definition of the word, we notice:

“1. Belief: the assent of mind in the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority or veracity, without other evidence; the judgment that what another states or testifies is the truth.”

The dictionary, additionally, states that:

“2. The object of belief: a doctrine or system of doctrines believed; a system of revealed truths received by Christians” (Webster’s 1828).

In plainer words, “faith,” as it appears in the Unity of the Spirit, is that body of truth which has been communicated to man from God for this dispensation. For this dispensation, there is a special body of revealed truth. Truth for today has been declared through the writings of  “…Paul, the prisoner of the Lord” (Eph. 4:1). This body of truth rests upon the Apostle Paul’s authority as the “prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles” (Eph. 4:1). The present “testimony of our Lord” (2 Tim. 1:8) is found in those epistles which bear the mark of prison upon them; hence, the Prison Epistles. These seven epistles make up “the form of sound words” (2 Tim. 1:13).

After “The Acts of the Apostles” ended, the Apostle Paul received a new and fresh revelation which was—the revelation of the Mystery. This truth was announced, verbally, to those saints who visited Paul, the prisoner. This revelation, or corpus of truth was then committed to writing. The “form of sound words” was to be “the object of belief” among Christians since the time of its revelation. The object of belief, today, is the “ONE FAITH” as mentioned in Ephesians 4:5.


The expression, “the faith,” sometimes refers to the body of revealed truth; whether it is Old Testament truth, Pentecostal truth, or truth of the Mystery.

It is noted in Romans 1:17 that there is a reference to Old Testament faith and Pentecostal faith (i.e. New Testament).

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from [OT] faith to [NT] faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

It is recorded in Acts 6:7 that “a great company of priests were obedient to the faith.” That is, they were obedient to the revealed truth of the New Testament which was the latest report from God at the time.

Acts 13:8 makes reference to the fact that Elymas, the sorcerer, sought to turn Sergius Paulus from “the faith.”

Paul exhorted the believers in Lystra,  Iconium, and Antioch to “continue in the faith” (Acts 14:22).

After Paul and Barnabas read the letter from James to the Gentile churches, concerning the keeping of the Law and circumcision, it is recorded:

“And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily”  (Acts 16:5).

The churches were established in New Testament faith which allowed Gentile participation in the Acts Period Church of God.

The Apostle Paul made a reference to the body of revealed truth, embodied in the New Testament, when he wrote:

“And [Paul] was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed” (Gal. 1:22-23).

Jude, also, mentioned the corpus of truth which was communicated to the saints:

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).

The verses which we considered concerned themselves with the revealed truth related to the New Testament and the Church of God. This system of doctrines believed, as we pointed out, was referred to as “the faith.”

After Israel and her hope were placed in abeyance, another system of revealed truth was made known. It was not associated with “the faith” of the Acts Period. In fact, the new revelation superseded that of the New Testament.

The latest report from God was communicated, exclusively, to the Apostle Paul—the prisoner of the Lord. This new body of truth is, also, referred to as “the faith” in the epistles penned by Paul after Acts 28.

“The faith” is expressed in the Mystery Epistle of Ephesians in 4:13 where Paul states the goal toward which the Acts Period believers were being directed after Acts 28.

“Till we all come in the unity of THE FAITH, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”

We should point to Philippians 1:27:

“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

The Apostle mentions that some will deny “the faith” and, consequently, be worse than an infidel:

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Tim. 5:8).

The letters to Timothy are replete with references to “the faith.” A sampling of these will be listed for the reader’s consideration:

“Holding [the] faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:” (1 Tim. 1:19).

“Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience” (1 Tim. 3:9).

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:1).

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Tim. 6:10).

“Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen”     (1 Tim. 6:21).

“The faith” which Paul speaks about in 1 Timothy is a reference to the Truth he received, by revelation, after “The Acts of the Apostles” ended. The same is true for the references in 2 Timothy:

“Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith” (2 Tim. 3:8).

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).

We will, now, look at another aspect of the “ONE FAITH.”


During the Pentecostal era of “The Acts of the Apostles,” we have noted that there were two separate categories of believers. They were the Jews and the Gentiles. As far as the Scriptural record is concerned, the Gentile, a centurion by the name of Cornelius, was the first Gentile to whom Peter used the Keys of the Kingdom. Metaphorically speaking, Peter opened the Kingdom doors to Cornelius and his household as recorded in Acts Chapter Ten. In fact, while the Apostle Peter was “preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom” to Cornelius and his whole household, the Holy Spirit moved upon them, all of whom were Gentiles.

“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God …” (Acts 10:44-46).

Here, it is said, “they of the circumcision which believed” were Jews from Joppa who accompanied Peter (Acts 10:23) to see Cornelius. In Acts 10, we see the admittance of the first Gentile into Christ’s Provisional Kingdom [ i ]. From Acts 10 to Acts 15, many Jewish saints thought that Gentile believers should embrace “the faith” that at first “began to be spoken by the Lord” and was, later, confirmed “by them that heard Him” (Heb. 2:3).

However, the Apostle Paul received advanced revelations concerning the Gentile position in the Acts Period calling. These additional revelations comprised what Paul referred to as “my gospel” (Rom. 2:16, 16:25). The fact that the Apostle Paul used the term, “my gospel,” certainly set his gospel in contrast with the other. Paul’s gospel is said to be “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). The “gospel of the grace of God,” simply put, was the fact that Gentile believers did not have to keep the Law of Moses, or submit to circumcision in order to be “saved” unto the Provisional Kingdom.

The Jewish believers, on the other hand, did not forsake the Law of Moses. They were, still, to circumcise the male child at eight days of age. James testifies to these facts:

“… And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him [Paul], Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law” (Acts 21:20).

Between Acts 10:44 and Acts 28:28, there was more than one body of revealed truth; let’s notice what the Apostle Paul said:

“But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter” (Gal. 2:7).

There was, from Acts 10 to Acts 28, “the faith” for Gentiles to embrace, and there was “the faith” for the Jews to embrace. In plainer words, the Gentiles had a system of doctrine to believe, and the Jews had a system of doctrine to believe. For this reason, there were two “faiths.”

1.    Faith for the Circumcision
2.    Faith for the Uncircumcision

The two faiths were in harmony concerning the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.  That is to say, they both agreed on the basics concerning that Jesus was Israel’s Christ, and the Savior of the world, and etc. Both faiths confessed that Christ “died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that he was seen of about five hundred brethren at once; …” (1 Cor.15:3-6).

The differences between the two were, namely, concerning circumcision and the Law.

Paul went to the Gentiles, which included the Jews of the Dispersion, with Truth for them. Peter and the Eleven ministered to the circumcision with the New Testament for them.

When the dispensational crisis was reached at Acts 28:28, and the hope of Israel was set aside, the Apostle Paul received the revelation of God’s Great Secret—the Mystery.

The Mystery made known the fact that Pentecostal truth was placed in abeyance. There was no longer a body of truth for Jews and another for Gentiles. With the coming-in of the Mystery, there was NOW one body of truth for believers, whether they were Jew or Gentiles; hence, ONE FAITH.

End Note:

    [ i ]. “Provisional Kingdom”—is a reference to the Kingdom established in a miniature composition during the Acts Period. “Provisional” means “serving for the time being only: or existing until a permanent one replaces it” ( A temporary Kingdom until the “real thing” is established. During “The Acts of the Apostles,” the Jews who were membered into the “Church of God” were citizens of the “Israel of God.” During the Acts Period, the “Israel of God,” to wit, the new nation, was on the world-scene in the “blade stage” (Mark 4:28). It was the Provisional Government of God, operating as a Divine nation-state until the genuine Pre-Millennial Government/Kingdom of God was to become manifest.