For You Are All One
By Kola S. Ajibola
The Holy Spirit, speaking the mind of God, through the mouth of Paul said “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put en Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26-28). Some today have allowed the doctrine of Satan to enter their heads by taking ‘all’ to be ‘one’ just like that. They think that once a person becomes a member of the church, he is now at par with all in the church, even with elders, deacons, preachers, teachers, parents and older brethren. I think this is wrong because this view runs contrary to other passages of the scripture. Please, let us consider the following points.
- WHEN ARE ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS?
- We are all one in the common salvation: In all matters of religion, Jesus Christ commands that “But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven” (Matthew 23:8-9). Jesus here condemns all sorts of religious titles hence, it will be wrong for a Christian to be addressed as ‘Elder So and So’ or ‘Deacon, Dr. X or Y’ or as ‘Evangelist or Teacher or Preacher Goat or Ram’ but hear Jesus, “you are brethren.”
In all matters of faith and our stand before God, we are all one. We are all saved through same process. In this regard we are all the same because by the blood of Jesus we are all drawn nigh unto God. (Gal. 3:28-29; Jude 3; Eph. 2:13). Search the New Testament for cases of conversion, it may interest you to discover that all who ever became Christians took the simple steps to salvation; and this is hearing of the gospel (Rom. 10:17); believing the gospel (Rom. 10:8-9); confessing Christ as the Son of God and Lord (Acts 8:36, Rom. 10: 8-10); repentance of one’s sins (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 2:38); and the last step is baptism into the body of Christ (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 1 Pet. 3:21; 1 Cor. 12:13). So in this regard we are all one.
- We are all one in the coming judgment: In the coming judgement we are all one, we are going to receive judgment same way because with God there is no partiality, He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34-35). As an elder will stand before the judgment seat of Christ so also a new convert. An old preacher will stand to receive judgment, so will a young preacher. The Holy Spirit declares this verdict when He said in 2 Corinthians 5:10 that “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body according to what he has done, whether good or bad”. God will not exempt you from the coming judgment because you believed yesterday and today is judgment day! Brother we are going to be judged same way; hence we are all one in this respect.
- We are all one in our stand before God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit: During the Old Testament era, the stands of Jews are quite different from that of the Gentiles. A distinction is made between a man and a woman. A slave was not at par with the free born, but under the New Testament period, the Holy Spirit declared “whether free or bond, male or female, Jews or Greek, are all one” (Gal. 3:28-29; Rom. 10:12).
- WHEN ARE ALL NOT ONE IN CHRIST JESUS?
But are we all one in all ramifications? Let the bible answer this question.
- In the Church at Jerusalem: Reading from Acts 5, we notice that there is a group of apostles unto which the other brethren referred to whenever a decision was to be taken. I want to suggest to you that if they are all one, in all ramifications, there wouldn’t be any reason for any to sell their property and bring the proceeds to the feet of the apostles. Why not to the feet of the individuals? The reason is that all are not apostles. The apostles were to lead while others were to follow their footstep as they (apostles) followed Christ (1 Cor. 15:1; Eph.2:20; ICor. 12:29,30).
- In Acts 15: We read of the meeting that was held at Jerusalem where the apostles, elders, and brethren were present. You only need to ask a question: Who were those that contributed to the decision of the church in that gathering? You want to think on this? Yes, you will discover that it was only the apostles that spoke not even the elders except James. What were the others doing in the meeting? They only played a silent role. Learning at apostles’ feet and waiting for their own time. It is needful to state here that it is a wrong altitude for the brethren to be slighting others while contributing to an issue in any meeting of the saints not minding whom they are speaking to. When some are expected to play a silent role all because we are all Christians, they also wish to be heard and they thereby fall into the trap of Satan by becoming insolent, rude, disrespectful, and unguarded in their speeches and utterances. Brethren, won’t we learn from this principle? Definitely, the brethren that gathered in Acts 15 were not all the same, in all ramifications. In 1 Tim. 5:1-3, Paul instructed Timothy, a young preacher on how to treat different kinds of people in the Church. How is this Preacher to relate with older brethren? The Bible says “as Fathers”. In our culture, a young man is to treat his father with all respect, so this preacher is expected to treat older brethren with a deserving respect. In the same vein, he is to treat older women “as mothers”, younger men “as brethren” and younger women “as sisters with all purity”. Brethren, this is the word of God. We are not, in all ramifications, the same as some will want us to believe and thereby giving chances for Satan to overtake them.
Brethren, it is high time we sensitised ourselves with this salient fact. A preacher is to be treated as a preacher. They are to be respected, they are not to be spoken to just any how all because we are Christians. In the same way, older men and women are expected to be respected. It will amount to sin on anyone’s part to disrespect an older man or woman in the church, even when they are caught in an offence, God still gives them certain “immunity”. The Bible says we should not rebuke them but to exhort them as fathers in the spirit of humility (1 Tim.5:1, 19; Gal. 6:1). Not to talk of the appointed elders, they are to be treated with all respect due to them (Heb. l3:17; l Tim.5:17; 1 Thess. 5:12-14).
We should not be guilty of what Peter described in 2 Peter 2:10-21. “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities…. But these, … speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, … cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray,… These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever…”
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