Monday, July 9, 2007

Unity In Christ

The one Church of God, of what is it composed then? Is it composed of the Church of England, the Congregational Union, the Wesleyan Conference, and the Baptist body? No, it is not. Is not then the Church of England a part of the Church of Christ, and the Baptist denomination a part? No; I deny that these bodies, as such, unrefined and in the gross, are a part of the great unity for which Jesus prayed; but there are believers united with the Church of England who are a part of the body of Christ and there are believers in all denominations of Christians, ay! and many in no visible Church at all, who are in Christ Jesus, and consequently in the great unity. The Church of England is not a part of Christ’s true body, nor any other denomination as such; the spiritual unity is made up of spiritual men, separated, picked out, cleared away from all the mass with
which they happen to be united.

I have spoken very boldly perhaps, and may be misunderstood; but this I mean, that you cannot take out any visible Church, however pure, and say that as it stands it belongs to the spiritual unity for which Jesus prayed. There are in the visible Churches a certain number of God’s elect ones, and these are of the body of Jesus Christ; but their fellow professors, if unconverted, are not in the mystical unity. Christ’s body is not made up of denominations, nor of presbyteries, nor of Christian societies; it is made up of saints chosen of God from before the foundation of the world, redeemed by blood, called by his Spirit, and made one with Jesus.

From a sermon entitled Unity In Christ, delivered January 7, 1866.

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