Correspondence: 2 Cor. 2:14-16; The Unity of the Spirit

2 Corinthians 2:14‑16  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Answer: Paul compares Christ to a conqueror in this passage, and himself as one led about in triumph by Him, and the gospel which he carried with him, the testimony of Christ—the savor of His knowledge, in every place he went, to the sweet spices burned on the occasion of some great victory. Unto God, this gospel was ever a sweet savor of Christ, and to those who received it, and by it were saved, it was a savor of life unto life; and to those who rejected it, it was a savor of death unto death. Conquerors saved some alive, and put others to death, just to satisfy themselves, but God delights in those who honor His beloved Son.
Question: What is “The unity of the Spirit?” L. B.
Answer: “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling,” Eph. 4:44There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (Ephesians 4:4). All true believers are in this verse. When the Holy Spirit came down in Acts 2, He baptized the believers in that upper room into one body; by the Holy Spirit’s presence in them, they were all livingly united to Christ, the Head on high, and to each other. This was a new thing on earth, the fruit of accomplished redemption, and as one after another believed the gospel and received the Holy Spirit, they were added to this body, whether they had been before Jews, Gentiles or Samaritans; and so it is up to this present time. Every believer is livingly a member of Christ, a member of the body of Christ, members one of another. (Rom. 12:4, 54For 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. (Romans 12:4‑5); 1 Cor. 6:15, 17, 1915Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. (1 Corinthians 6:15)
17But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:17)
19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19)
). We are also children of God, the Father (Born. 8:15; Gal. 4:66And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Galatians 4:6); 1 John 3:1, 21Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:1‑2)).
What an immense favor to be thus put in living union with our Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit! What a new light it throws on the Church of God! We see ourselves united to Christ in glory, and to every true believer on earth. At the beginning, all were together; not so now, though they ought to be, for faith takes in the truth that God has made us one by that one Spirit, and we therefore should act as This is the unity of the Spirit. It is the inward realization and behavior consistent with the truth that we are one body.
Eph. 4 begins with the apostle beseeching those saints to walk worthy of the vocation, the new relationships he has unfolded to them, including the mystery that we, with Christ, are one. Some might wrongly think from verse 2 that this is impossible. considering their varied tempers, dispositions, etc., and it would be, unless the grace of God rules in their hearts and controls them, so he exhorts them with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love, to endeavor to maintain this unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
It is not unity of Spirit only, but the unity of the Holy Spirit in the ways and truth of God. The unity of the body is formed and maintained by God. Our failures, or our obedience does not alter it, but if we do not seek to be led by the Lord, we must grieve and quench the Holy Spirit who will not fail to carry us through to the end of our journey in this life. What unhappiness in life this makes for many of the Lord’s dear ones. The Holy Spirit ever puts the Lord before us as our object and center. His is the only name given to be gathered to. (Matt. 18: 20).
But though all are not now gathered to Him, yet we must think how He loves all His members, and love them as occasion is given. We may not like their ways in many things, nor can we walk with them in ways contrary to the Word of God, but we must in our hearts love them because they are dear to Him, and carefulness becomes us not to do anything that would hurt them, or influence them to walk in ways not pleasing to the Lord.
It is quite true, sad to say, that many of Christ’s members are linked up with divisions and associations quite contrary to the Word of God (2 Cor. 6:14-7:114Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 1Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 6:14‑7:1)) out of which some of us, through grace, were delivered. And now, if true to the Lord, we could not go with them in paths of disobedience, but as far as the truth of God will allow us, we should walk with and help them to advance in the truth. This is our privilege toward every member. To be in divisions or sects is carnal (1 Cor. 3:33For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? (1 Corinthians 3:3)). It would not help them for us to go there, and we would put ourselves in wrong ways. It may seem egotistic, but Christ is the center! because He is the Head of the body, and there each member should be. He is our guide, and His Word is sufficient to show us the way. The Holy Spirit will not lead us any other way than by the Word.
Then Matt. 18:18-2018Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:18‑20) is important. If we maintain the unity of the Spirit, we recognize the action cf the two or three, who with Christ in their midst, are acting for Him. We must recognize that we are in one fellowship with all that are so gathered. It is not a union of assemblies but it is a recognition that they are all one though in different localities. If the man in 1 Cor. 5, was put away at Corinth, he was put away for the whole Church on earth, and letters of commendation are given to receive those coming from other places as strangers.