In The Name
Until the past couple of years I had never had reason to even consider the Oneness versus Trinity controversy. However, in the more recent past, occasion brought me to give even further pause and consideration to the matter. It was assumed that this dispute had occurred after the early twentieth century outpouring of the Holy Ghost, when the Assemblies of God and Apostolic Churches were the two initial denominations to come out of the outpouring of the Spirit. But having seen the preponderance of information available thus far on the Internet, it appears that men’s fleshly propensity to argue has allowed this to remain through many centuries, and generation after generation. Often the Comma Johanneum debate over I John 5:7, 8 has been at the center of the controversy. The debate is traced back to at least the 4th or 5th century, and contains well-known names including Sir Isaac Newton.
Neither the word Oneness nor the word Trinity can be found in the Holy Bible. It is noted often in the arguments that the Apostles never considered the matter. The early body of Christ had the newness of the true, experiential, faith and walk with God, and had no need to consider it, living it in the fullness of the Spirit of truth, rather than walking in fleshly dispute or comparisons. It is easy to understand that religious arguments tend to continue because the enemy uses the wicked and fleshly nature of man to justify his position and himself, and also the apathy that allows people to accept only what they have heard all their lives. Understanding that fleshly nature of man, and realizing that this argument has raged this long, it will not be fully resolved here. However, let us try to clarify the positions, and allow those who do not have the time to research it to also deeper consider the issues and allow God to guide them in their own walk and personal determination, but to foremost seek the will and unity of Almighty God regardless of your beliefs.
All of the above said, let us compare the belief or faith statements about God from the Assemblies of God and the United Pentecostal churches copied and pasted from their websites;
AG (1916): WE BELIEVE … There is only One True God – revealed in three persons … Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (commonly known as the Trinity).
UPCI (1945): There is one God, who has revealed Himself as our Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and as the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is God manifested in flesh. He is both God and man. (See Deuteronomy 6:4; Ephesians 4:4-6; Colossians 2:9; I Timothy 3:16.)
The belief statements about God of the Assemblies of God and United Pentecostal Churches vary so little! Both state that there is one God! Both state that He is revealed in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! There is so much commonality, yet so much division by the people, apparently over inclusion of the phrase about the trinity. The enemy has perpetrated a wedge to divide and prevent unity of the body of Christ. And in so dividing the body, the devil has also perpetrated a complacent and satisfied church, failing to reach the places they are called to.
Perhaps some of the dispute is in finding a word to describe the manifestations of God. While Jesus became a person to reconcile us to God, perhaps the term persons seems too limiting, and may not properly apply to the Father or to the Holy Ghost. Let us look at some of the attributes and things that we know God to be. From Deuteronomy 4:24 and Hebrews 12:29 we know God is a consuming fire. In Deuteronomy 6:4 and Mark 12:29 we know him as one Lord. In Psalm 118:27 we know him as the Lord. In Psalm 47:7 we know him as King of all the earth. In Psalm 84:11 we know him as a sun and shield. In Psalms 99:9 and I Corinthians 3:17 we know him as holy. In Daniel 9:14 he is righteous. In John 1:1 Jesus, as the Word, was with God and the Word was God. In John 4:24, God is a spirit. In Galatians 3:20 God is one. In I John 1:5, God is light. In I John 4:8 and 4:16, God is love. From I John 3:20 God knoweth all things, and is omniscient. In Revelation 19:6 God is omnipotent. If you read any of the above attributes and bristle, or scoff, or have reservations about them, you should recognize the depth of the argument within you, and ask God to change it, because … thy word is truth, sanctify them by thy truth. (John 17:17) Each of these attributes are in the Bible, and are truth. We should not limit or choose the truth we will walk in, but be lead by the Spirit of truth. These attributes of God should not properly ascribe to a “person”, for a person cannot even be righteous or holy without the grace of God. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). As a result we see repeatedly from scripture that God has no respect of persons. In addition, while we know God is omnipresent, a person is not omnipresent: Jesus in the flesh was not omnipresent. The only use of the word person relatively to God is the translation of Hebrews 1:3, where Jesus is compared as, … the express image of his person, where person is translated from the Greek word hypostasis (G5287 in the Strong’s); with a Strong’s definition of a setting under (support), i.e. (figuratively) concretely, essence, or abstractly, assurance (objectively or subjectively). And since we know that Jesus was the only sinless person, it can seem, after the fall in the Garden, that any other person being in His image is a dubious comparison.
The English language does not seem to contain an individual word that fully ascribes both flesh and deity attributes. The only word is the name Jesus, … for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12) Due to all of the awesome, amazing, extraordinary attributes of God, using the word persons to describe Him is somewhat of an improper allegory of God, or an oxymoron. We should continually seek to know and find Almighty God in His infinite and limitless power and possibilities, and not allow our minds to limit that knowledge. Let us look at some of the arguments men have made in arguing words and names.
Singularity vs. Plurality
In nearly all of the Holy Bible uses of the word God it is used in the singular, including stating that He is “one God” in Malachi 2:10, Mark 12:32, Romans 3:30, Ephesians 4:6, I Corinthians 8:6, I Timothy 2:5, James 2:19, and “one Lord” in Deuteronomy 6:4. That God is one is further stated in I Corinthian’s 8:4, and Galatians 3:20. There is none good but one, that is God, is stated in a number of scriptures including Matthew 19:17, Mark 10:18 and 12:29, and Luke 18:19. The combining of these scriptures all provide the basis for the doctrinal belief, faith, and knowledge of most denominations that there is only one God.
In Genesis 1:26 the scripture does not seem to use the singular for God, but the plural, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Many point to this plural use as confirming a conversation of deity and thus multiple members of the one God. However, when considering the original Hebrew text it is difficult to substantiate this plurality. On the other side, in relation to Matthew 28:19 an argument has often been made that it is the singular for God because they do not use the plural word names, but the word name. But the word “and” is conjunctive or combining: in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Can you see how each of these grammatical interpretations are being used as justification of the positions of men?
In a number of scriptures it speaks of the “Holy One” or “Just One” of God or of Israel. The grammar of these phrases suggests or denotes a separation in entity or character of the One, but being a portion of the whole. The Scriptures include Psalm 71:22 and 78:41, Isaiah 29:23, 30:15, 43:3, 48:17, 54:5, 55:5, and 60:9, Jeremiah 51:5, Hosea 11:9, and Habakkuk 1:12 and 3:3. The words Holy and Just are descriptive, and assign an awe, a reverence, and honour to the One. We should never allow anything to reduce that honour, as the commandment has said: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain (Exodus 20:7, Deuteronomy 5:11) The world and the church have reduced their understanding of this commandment to that of using His name with a curse word in a sentence: there is so much more meaning than that. Consider the following verse;
Proverbs 30:9 Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
Every time that you put yourself before God, or idolize someone, or miss church, or dishonor your parents, or hate someone, or fornicate, or steal, or lie, or covet you are saying that my fear, my awe, and my reverence of Almighty God and His name are minimal. Every time in your fullness and in the abundance of His blessings you become complacent or turn or walk away from God you are taking His name in vain. Do you see that His name is not just a word to be reverenced, but reaches to the depths of your location “in” Him? In the name of the Lord, or In the name of Jesus, is speaking to the depth of your relationship with Him: your walk is your worship.
Would you argue with Jesus for saying Matthew 28:19, or with Peter for saying Acts 2:38? We can rest assured that the two verses are in complete and total unity in the Word of God! If you find division or conflict in these two verses you have allowed the enemy to divide or conquer your faith and your belief in the inerrancy of God’s word. We should not be trying to find differences where none exist, but looking for the similarities in these two verses. Read Matthew 28:18 – 20 together, as they should be, and consider why all three are listed in Jesus commission:
Matthew 28:18 – 20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Any time you see therefore look back for the reason and then ahead to the call: Jesus statement was that All power is given unto me, and His following emphasis is not on baptizing, but on teaching; and teaching (or discipling) that the relationship with all three manifestations of the one true God are a must for a proper walk in the power of Jesus! Muslims claim to worship the God of Abraham but have no relationship with Jesus, or the Holy Ghost. Jews seek the face of God, and are blessed and kept of God, but cannot enter His holy presence without knowing Jesus (…no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6), or without experiencing the Spirit. You cannot find the full power of Jesus in absence of verity and truth; knowing Jesus and the Holy Ghost.
How many Christian denominations deny the infilling and gifts of the Spirit for this day and time and are hindered in their walk, without victory or power? How many people will accept the salvation of Jesus, but fear, are too ashamed, or are too convicted of the enemy to seek the face of the Father? Jesus has rent the veil (Matthew 27:51), has become our advocate with the Father (I John 2:1), and has allowed us into the holy of holies, His holy presence! Seek, find, and embrace this walk in the fulness and power of Jesus!
This teaching and baptizing that Jesus speaks of is not a one-time ceremonial action, but a continuing instruction in the immersion in, or of, this walk! The Greek word and Strong’s meaning (G907) for baptizing in the verse is; baptízō, bap-tid’-zo; from a derivative of G911; to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet); used only (in the New Testament) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism. We know that the baptism in the Spirit is a separate, distinct, and spiritually based receiving, so Jesus is not speaking only of the ceremonial, but of teaching them of the fulness and completeness of this walk with God! Can you recognize that there are also two baptisms referenced in Acts 2:38 … and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost? Realize that the common element in the two verses (Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38) is teaching, discipling, and leading them to be completely “in”: truly, fully, and totally immersed in this walk with God! Receiving salvation and being baptized is not an end, but a beginning of being “in” Him! Peter’s statement was one of establishing and exhorting new converts in this walk, while Jesus statement was exhorting those that He had already established in this walk to be used: Peter was obeying the commandment of Matthew 28:19, and neither scripture is only about baptism!
Where Are You Located?
Consider some other words used with “the name”: in John 17:11 it says … through thine own name; the word through is locative, telling where, and is not descriptive of the name. In Hebrews 6:10 the word declares … toward his name; toward is again locative, directional, and not descriptive. I John 3:23 calls us to … believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ; the words believe on require an action and are not descriptive. Consider the metaphor of His name with a place in the following verse;
Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
Do you see and understand from this scripture that His name is a spiritual place to be “in”, not just a word, or an external thing to be admired? When we say someone has gotten their self a name, they have achieved honor, admiration, renown, fame, and have a reputation. God is worthy of much more, due to His glory, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Consider if you have limited His name in your thought process: He is worthy of limitless praise, worship, and subjection.
Before going further, it is needful then to establish that on the subject of baptism both sides have misplaced their focus or emphasis: it should not be an argument of words or of names, but of the depth of the individual’s walk; the word “in” should be considered the operative and proper focus. In other words, consider the word “in” to be a locative preposition, and at times an adverb, portraying their walk in God, and it is not an adjective descriptive of the words or names. Are they in the flesh, or “in” the Spirit? The individual must be “in” God or the baptism is to no practical avail. Yes, we know that God … hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name (Philippians 2:9), but our calling is to be “in” His name, not just to see, admire, or proclaim it from afar! Can you see beyond the call and recognize the need to be “in” His name? The seven sons of Sceva were not “in” Jesus, so thus their actions and their words as men trying to physically call on the name of Jesus against the possessed man were to absolutely no avail (Acts 19:13 – 17). The emphasis must be on establishing the individual in the fullness of the way that Jesus is (… no man cometh unto the Father but by me. (John 14:6) and … there is none other name … given among men whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)), and in the walk that He provides; the justification and then the path of sanctification to holiness. Otherwise it would be no different than an infant baptism: the baby is not “in” anything at that point in their life.
For an example of the disciples believing this necessity to be “in” Him before baptism, consider Phillip with the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:35 – 39: … what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Phillip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. Phillip made sure the Ethiopian was “in” before he baptized him. Or further consider Peter with the Gentile household of Cornelius: Can any man forbid water, that these should be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? (Acts 10:47) Peter saw and acknowledged that they were “in” Him to the amazement of the Jewish converts. When Paul found the twelve disciples at Ephesus in Acts 19, he recognized that they were saved, asked about the Holy Ghost and their baptism, and then established them “in” this walk. Oh, may you search and find that you are “in” Him! Consider the above verse from Proverbs again;
Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
The righteous runneth (a verb), into (locative) it, and is safe. Your safety and the control of God are “in” Him! Please note that it is not everyone who may run to this tower for safety, but only the righteous: there is a call to come out of the flesh, to righteousness unto holiness that we must find. And His name is a strong tower; we are in a spiritual climb, and we may never reach the completeness of being “in” Him in this life! Purpose to be always on this climb to be “in” Him in a greater way! Consider the call Jesus gave to us in His prayer in the Upper Room, before going to the garden;
John 17:19 – 23 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word: That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Can you receive this call to a greater walk, being “in” oneness with Almighty God? This call was not just for the apostles or disciples, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. Do you believe on Jesus? Then He has given you a call to find Him in sanctification. Endeavour to move out of your belief system, out of your limited mind and thought (which can be unbelief), and into the fullness of the blessing and multiplying, and promise of Almighty God, being one with Him! We do not understand the fullness of this being one with Him, because the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. We need to be lead of the Spirit to receive. The more we become one with God, the more the Spirit can and will lead us into these spiritual things. Let us now consider the scriptures probably the most known in the Bible for the use of “one”, and the effective meanings;
Ephesians 4:3-7 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ, Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
How deeply have you ever considered one body? In relation to marriage, Genesis 2:24 says and they shall be one flesh. In Matthew 19:5 and Mark 10:7, 8, it says and they twain shall be one flesh. In Ephesians 5:31 it says they two shall be one flesh, as well as I Corinthians 6:16 saying two, saith he, shall be one flesh. Do the two bodies become one individual? Are the two suddenly jointed? No, but they still are one in the flesh according to scripture, and What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Unfortunately in this day there are not a lot of people waiting for God to join them together, but they are joined together by their own varied lusts: and as a result there is very little love, commitment, or stability in the marriage (or “relationship” in lack thereof). There is a spiritual meaning and connotation of this being one flesh, and we cannot only place or apply physical understanding to it. Similarly, there was a spiritual meaning when Jesus told Nicodemus Except a man be born again, and Nicodemus tried to apply physical meaning to it.
Rather than trying to grasp or understand the spiritual significance of these examples, let us consider our own selves. Although we are made up of body, soul, and spirit, we are not three, but we are one individual. It might be more accurate to say we are body and soul, since those are the two things that God can destroy in hell (Matthew 10:28). Our spirit was given by God and is present to make us one with God if we so choose (the depth of our being “in” Him). When we die the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:7) Realize that every soul is given spirit and the measure of faith (Romans 12:3) that we may choose to be one with Him: we choose the depth of being “in” Him. Does this help you see the spiritual aspect of being one; or being one with God?
Just as with these above examples, there is spiritual meaning when the word says there is one body; consider what Romans says;
Romans 12:4, 5 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
When we are justified or sanctified we are all part of the one body of Christ, but we are not all enjoined into one entity physically, but spiritually. We each as members one of another have differing gifts and purposes in the body, but we are one body spiritually, as we are “in”, led by, and moved by the Head of the body, the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why Colossians 1:18 requires us to give him the preeminence. Let us continue this scriptural look at one body;
I Corinthians 12:12 – 14 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.
The normal person has eight fingers and two thumbs on two hands, but they are all parts of the one body, and are subject to the head. Can the parts determine they do not belong? They should not exclude themselves;
I Corinthians 12:15 – 17 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
The individual cannot exalt other parts of the body and determine that the individual their self is not part of the body (although humbleness is an admirable trait), but should only consider that each member meets a specific purpose in the will of God;
I Corinthians 12:18 – 20 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body.
God has established and ordered this body as it hath pleased him. And each part is prepared for His purpose, and must not be exalted in that place or position;
I Corinthians 12:21, 22 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
On the opposite end of the spectrum in these verses, neither can an individual in pride denigrate another part of the body as unnecessary: in obedience each must hear and obey the head, the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no place in this body for pride, for it is only by His grace that we may accomplish anything, and all the parts are necessary for the body to function in the will of God;
I Corinthians 12:23, 24 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
Have you ever noticed how God sometimes speaks some of the greatest wisdom out of the least intelligent? That is how and why we love, nourish, and cherish the body, and should avoid division;
I Corinthians 12:25 – 27 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now are ye the body of Christ, and members in particular.
The body of Christ must fully function with all members obeying the head. If any member fails in obedience to Jesus there is schism in the body, and the body suffers. If the hand figuratively refuses to scratch the itch when commanded, or the foot refuses to carry or take the arms and hands to be used where the Lord Jesus purposes, the body suffers. In men we have strife and division; in men we have proselytizing; in men we have the rulers of the darkness of this world; in men we have spiritual wickedness in high places. In the one body of God we have complete unity in righteousness unto holiness, and to His will and purpose. We must be in Jesus, … If any man open the door I will come in; we must be … in the Father and the Father in me; we must have the indwelling Spirit … he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. If you can argue against any of these things that Jesus said, and did, you argue against God! And we must realize that each of these spiritual callings are not optional: you are the temple, and the kingdom of God is within you. We are called to be the holy habitation of God! In your thought and faith processes do not try to mix the physical or carnal with the spiritual, they will not mix. You cannot allow your thought process to let this become an argument of parts, words, names, or thoughts or the enemy will limit and defeat you.
The scripture in Ephesians above says there is one Spirit: if you are also yielding to your spirit you have allowed a second controlling force to war in the one body. This is similar with one Lord. A Lord in this context is defined as: one having power and authority over others; a ruler by hereditary right or preeminence to whom service and obedience are due. If we allow our flesh to have preeminence at times, we do not have one Lord. What did Jesus say? We cannot serve two masters;
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
We are taught that the word mammon is the confidence in money or wealth, and we limit our understanding: the Strong’s definition also says; i.e. avarice (deified). Merriam-Webster says avarice is excessive or insatiable desire for wealth or gain. Gain is not only money, you can gain power, or gain fame, or gain control, or gain lands or even persons. Anything that you desire or lust after in this fleshly life can and will compete with and prevent you from a walk with one Spirit and one Lord. You cannot be fully “in” Him if you have another master. You must give up your fleshly aspirations and allow Jesus to be your head for you to receive the fullness of the blessing and multiplying of God!
Carry this thought process to one hope of your calling. This does not mean that we have a single hope, or a single calling, but that we cannot, or should not, have a secondary or conflicting calling. Do you have a lust or desire to be a secular singer, or an athlete, or an actor, or a politician? It will conflict with your true spiritual calling. Do you see and understand the need to be fully “in” Him? We must allow God to have full and complete preeminence and dominion in our lives. It has been said, that if you are spiritually called as an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher, do not stoop so low as to be President of the United States! Your thought process may allow you to think that this is a greater calling, but the physical or carnal will not mix with the spiritual, never go back from the spiritual to the natural except by the revelation and leading of God! (In II Kings 2 Elisha, although blessed spiritually as the servant of the man of God, was led by his obedience through the natural places to the fullness of the spiritual promise, a double portion of anointing! See the expounding of this below our discussion of the Ephesians scriptures.)
Does this look at singularity in the spiritual things help you to understand one baptism? We think of the multiple baptisms; baptism of water, baptism in the Holy Ghost, or even Jesus saying, can ye … be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? To baptize or baptism is defined as an immersion, submerging, or making whelmed in the Strong’s. In your flesh this baptism could be defined for instance by any addiction: alcoholism, drugs, sex; the person is immersed in it, whelmed by it. You cannot have one baptism if you have a baptism of the flesh that conflicts with your one walk in the Spirit with God. It is this singularity of thought process that could allow Enoch to walk with God three hundred years! All of the above examples desire for us to be spiritually one with God, to be “in” Him. There should be nothing fleshly or carnal, and it will be as simple as hear and do what God gives: be led of the Spirit.
And then we come to One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all: we have explored the omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, and love of God, and we realize that God is greater than anything we could imagine. Can you have a heart after God’s own heart, and find the desire to be one with Him?
In Acts 7:55, 56 Stephen, while being full of the Holy Ghost, saw the heavens opened, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, showing that the Holy Ghost, Jesus, and the Father at that specific moment were unique and distinct, while still being completely one. This manifesting of the three members at the same moment in time had also occurred scripturally (previous to Jesus resurrection) at the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:16, 17 and Mark 1:9 – 11). Yet we know that God is unchanging (Malachi 3:6), and from Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. Do not ever think that there is ever a spiritual changing or separation of this one God. There will be many diehard debaters who will still want to argue terms like “coequal”, or that Jesus is also the Father and the Spirit. These doctrines are difficult to prove scripturally, but very easy to question. For instance, Jesus said, my Father is greater than I (John 14:28), and My Father … is greater than all (John 10:29), establishing the unique position and authority of the Father. In relation to the Spirit, Jesus said …he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak, and He shall glorify me: there is also a unique position and working of the Spirit. And yet for all of this they are still one. Do not allow the enemy to drag you into manmade debates which work against unity. There are those who find difficulty understanding this concept of one God, for if Jesus were in the garden praying from Himself to Himself, was it deception? With this thought process in the physical you may find yourself worshipping three Gods instead of one.
Titus 3:9 says we are to avoid foolish questions and contentions: it is for God to know and reveal, and for us to quit arguing about. We must quit trying to think in the natural with spiritual things. While we cannot mix physical and carnal with spiritual things, there are often spiritual parallels to natural things. God gave me the comparison of the atom: an atom consists of protons, neutrons, and electrons (and scientists are now further dividing it with quarks, etc.), yet it is still only one atom, held together by the strong force of nature. And isn’t it marvelous to consider that just as the electrons can be sent and received from the atom in the natural, in the spiritual the Holy Spirit can be sent and received from Almighty God!
In Ephesians 4:3 above it says the unity of the Spirit. This word unity is G1775 in the Strong’s concordance and means oneness, i.e. figuratively unanimity. It is also used in Ephesians 4:13. We must be “in” Him, and He in us, with no confliction or control of the flesh, to have this unity. That is the oneness God also desires for us to receive and to walk in. We must find the oneness, the unanimity, the unity of the Spirit. In this unity let us consider the name Jesus;
Philippians 2:9 – 11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
God has given Jesus a name which is above every name; it is for the magnificence, and the importance, and the exaltation of His name that we also use in the name of Jesus. Scripturally we can find the phrases in the name of a prophet, in the name of a righteous man, or in the name of a disciple, but we do not exalt them to the same degree for those phrases. The phrase in the name of the Lord is the most often used phrase “in the name of” in the Bible, but does not reach to the same level of this exaltation. Consider the height and depth of how God has exalted Him (Jesus) in these verses in Ephesians;
Ephesians 1:20 – 23 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
It may be impossible for us to fully and completely exalt, magnify, or worship the name of Jesus. But why do we limit ourselves, our friends, or even Jesus by emphasizing His name strictly in relation to baptism? When Jesus went to John to be baptized, he said … thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. (Matthew 3:15) Being baptized is a means of submission, subjection, and obedience to fulfil all righteousness. By Jesus statement we cannot complete our righteousness without it. But ask yourself, if what Jesus did is exactly what I need to do to fulfil all righteousness, then whose name was Jesus baptized in? We have our emphasis all wrong, the point is being “in” Him! Without any doubt or question Jesus was more “in” than any other person at His baptism! Peter himself describes what baptism is with a physical comparison or example, noting what it is (and what it is not!);
I Peter 3:20, 21 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a- preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
So baptism is not the washing away of sins (which Jesus had none of!), but establishing the condition of the heart, being “in” God! Can you receive this as confirming of the prior comment about an infant baptism not availing anything? Or does this confirm to you that someone only comes out wet after baptism without a change in heart? The name used for either of those attempted baptisms could not or would not fulfil all righteousness!
If the point about Jesus baptism is not enough for you, what about the 120 who were in the upper room: whose name were they each water baptized in? Their water baptisms did not all occur at one time, each had their own distinct water baptism, possibly in differing locations, conditions, and times. Do you believe that each had a specific language, wording, or name spoken over them? Yet each and all of them were in one accord, prepared and purposed, when the day of Pentecost came.
Consider what is recorded of the selection of Matthias to replace Judas;
Acts 1:21, 22 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
Can you receive the inference that the water baptism of those who … companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, was that of John the Baptist? Would you condemn the path and the walk of the 120, or of the Apostles, as incomplete or somehow deficient? They each had the same water baptism that Jesus had, and of which He said, … thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.
Can you see how the enemy has perpetrated a dispute or an argument to divide the body of Christ? Paul addressed this division of the body;
I Corinthians 1:10 – 12 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
Paul spoke against the division that we see so prevalent today by word, by doctrine, or by denomination, and exhorted … that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. There was no place for them to divide based on who they were converted by, or under. But Paul then took this a step further and addressed baptisms;
I Corinthians 1:13 – 17 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
Nearly 2000 years ago the Apostle Paul was already commanding against division over any issues, such as baptism, and in that day there obviously was the potential of individuals using their own name! In these scriptures Paul places an emphasis on only Jesus in all things: Paul is declaring that he was not crucified for them, that baptism could not be in his name, and that any wisdom of words from him were not important, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. May you receive that Paul is declaring that nothing should be in him, or in man’s wisdom, but everything, our all in all, must be in Jesus. He summarized this to the church at Colosse;
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Can you understand that this verse is not a requirement for you to declare Jesus name with every time that you do something, or say something? May you understand that in the name of the Lord Jesus is a place to be, not just a thing to say!
In relation to this point of Jesus baptism, the remaining debaters may bring up the issue of Paul finding certain disciples when he came to Ephesus. Paul recognized them as believers and realized that something was missing;
Acts 19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
Paul did not leave or separate because of their doctrinal differences; he did not debate with them; neither did he immediately lay hands on them: knowing that they were believers he instead loved them and God enough to check further to assure that all of the steps and relationships of Matthew 28:18 – 20 were in place;
Acts 19:3 – 5 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
In the last sentence the word this was added by the translators for clarity: the sentence does not say that Paul baptized them, or even that water was in some way involved: It can be read as a physical re-baptism, or as the spiritual change occurring immediately When they heard; but regardless they were now fully “in”! Can you also receive from Paul’s assertion above in I Corinthians 1:13 – 17 over the few names who he baptized, that it confirms that he did not baptize the twelve disciples he found at Ephesus? You may have seen this difference if you have observed many baptisms: some come out only wet, and some come out gloriously changed, baptized spiritually in the name of the Lord Jesus! It is only in the fullness of the spiritual that … it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. After this, scripture specifically records that Paul then laid hands on them;
Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
We can find scripturally that even this order of baptisms is not required, because the household of Cornelius believed and became “in” and also received the Holy Ghost without the physical baptism occurring yet (Acts 10), or even the laying on of hands! Does any of this help you gain the greater spiritual perspective of the various baptisms, beyond the physical arguments over words and names? God undoubtedly included each of these occurrences to enable us to see the spiritual aspects of baptisms, and yet the enemy has been able to divide, and separate, and sow discord through the nature and doctrine of men. May we all gain such a love of God, and obedience to Him, that the enemy has no avenue to work!
Many people try to read the phrase “in the name” as “using the name”, and that would be the plainest English if that were the true meaning; but the translators at no place in the scriptures, from the original text or languages, found the term “using” appropriate to the meaning! The need is to be “in” Him: to be living in Him, to be in subjection to Him, owned by Him, to be obedient to Him! Do you truly and fully belong to God? If we are “in” his name, we will not do or ask amiss. When we are fully “in” his name, we will have and also use the authority given “in” the name. Begin to seek and ask for the grace to always be increasingly “in” Him to greater depths!
Do you love what you believe more than who you believe in? If you struggle, argue, or wrestle against any of the points made herein you may be showing just that: God is a discerner of your heart and you cannot hide it from Him. Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength and everything else will be established and ordered by Him. Do not ever water down or change your faith or belief except by revelation of God, but also do not dispute the matter. Be led of the Spirit and then the unity of the Spirit will prevail. God would not have you walking in discord, or creating discord, because of what you perceive as differences in doctrine with another. The Lord hates … he that soweth discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:19) God loves them also, and would have you love them to the fullness of His love in spite of their differences with you. With one Lord and led of one Spirit let us find the unity of the one body and defeat the enemy in this continual spiritual warfare!
As I was writing to never go back from the spiritual to the natural, I felt prompted or led to add except as led by God. I then also felt led to consider Elijah and Elisha for an example. In II Kings 2 they are specifically led of God on a path through three natural places: Bethel, Jericho, and Jordan. There is spiritual meaning and guidance through each of these three places. Bethel (Strong’s H1008) means house of God: scripturally we are the house or temple of Almighty God, and we must purpose to cleanse and build this temple through His grace from righteousness unto holiness. There is so much depth of spiritual preparation that could be studied, expounded, and added here. The prophet was then called to Jericho.
Jericho (H3405 in the Strong’s) has two meanings listed: the first says; perhaps from H3394, its month (H3394 is the moon). The moon has a uniform, consistent, perpetual cycle of the daily and weekly phases through each lunar month; it affects the tides daily, but has phases of light from new moon through full moon during it’s cycle. As with the moon, there is a timing, uniformity, and order to the things of God. As the moon moves the tides, God wants to move you always by His Spirit, and desires a continual walk in His light, grace and calling: we are not in a part time walk, but should at all times be seeking His will and purpose. Our receiving from Him will be first for our holiness by His grace, but will then also be in His calling, time, and place. You cannot change the will and timing of God’s purpose: anything added by, of, or through, your will and timing is failure on your part. We must submit in patience to the will, timing, and purpose of Almighty God. The second meaning of Jericho said; or else from H7306; fragrant. There have been times in life where the smell of the fragrance of heaven confirmed being where God purposed for me to be for that moment. Ask God to give you confirmation of the fullness of your walk, that he may call you, as with the prophet, to go to and cross over Jordan.
Jordan is H3383 in the Strong’s, and means; a descender. A river is a descender in that gravity causes the waters to descend continually to the seas. At the place that Elijah and Elisha were finally lead to, God by supernatural means descended to take Elijah. But more importantly for us, He also descended to give Elisha a double portion of Elijah’s spirit or anointing. The implication for us is that the Holy Ghost is a descender: according to Jesus in John 7:38, 39 rivers of living waters. If we will follow His path; righteousness unto holiness in His call, timing, and purpose, God will descend to us and will flow from us in these rivers of living waters. How often we fail by not finding the fullness, the diligence, or the proper hunger in seeking His face! Elisha walked in all the fullness of that spiritual desire and received the full blessing! Elijah said that Elisha had asked a hard thing, but to Elisha it was a great thing! Elisha’s calling was to be prophet in Elijah’s place (I Kings 19:16), and he embraced the calling and served fully to achieve it. What will you do with your calling?
Oh, God bring us on the spiritual walk from Bethel to Jericho to Jordan: give us more desire, more diligence, great grace, and exceeding spiritual hunger that we might find righteousness unto holiness; then also find your call, your will, your timing, and your place for us to receive the fullness of walk in the Holy Ghost; that the Spirit may then flow from us as rivers of living waters! May this give hope that … maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Let us then love God with all His love, that we might live, and love, and benefit all of the members of His one body in that same measure and fullness, through the activation of our faith! But first and foremost, Oh, God, give us an understanding that as we follow your path in this walk, we must come out before we can fully come in, in the name of the Lord, in the name of Jesus, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost!
One of the greatest hindrances to our coming into the full and complete walk in the Spirit is that we do not desire or even see or understand that in order to come in we have a need to come out, out of the carnal or fleshly nature.
Deuteronomy 6:23 And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.
Realize that until God brought the children miraculously “out” of Egypt and that fleshly walk, he could not bring them “in” to the Promised Land. While they were blessed in wealth, health, guidance, and protection coming out and in the wilderness, most of the children could not receive the Promised Land, because in their unbelief they refused it (Hebrews 3:7 – 19). Realize the path of justification and sanctification is needed to bring us out, that he might bring us in. There was a purging process necessary to bring the children of Israel to the place that they could be brought in: this purging took a generation of the lives of the people, forty years in the wilderness. Unless we recognize the need for this purging, this necessary path, and desire and embrace it, we too can lose a lifetime of desiring the promises and not receiving them. If the lust of the flesh remains, the fullness of the divine nature cannot come in: seek God for the grace to bring you out of the carnal, and into the divine nature.
Abraham was called to come out, and is a physical example of our spiritual path;
Genesis 12:1 – 5 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
If you will read Hebrews 11:8 – 10 and 11:12 – 16 you will understand that this was not just physical, but spiritual. Abraham was called out of thy country to a new country, and looked for a heavenly home, an eternal kingdom. He was called out … from thy kindred to receive new spiritual kindred. He was called out … from thy father’s house, to The Father’s house. Abraham was blessed along the path of life, but always looked forward to the spiritual promises.
Please see from scripture the path that Abram took to the blessing: when he first came out, he left country, but he came with his father, Terah (Genesis 11:31, 32). After his father had passed, he again went, but he still took his kindred, Lot, with him (Genesis 12:4, 5). Through Genesis 12 and 13 we see the progression of his walk, with Lot still with him, up to his separation from Lot, and then, and only then, did God reveal a land that I will shew thee, and address the full promise;
Genesis 13:14 – 17 And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
While Abraham was blessed of God on his path, he did not get the full promise until he was fully obedient. While we may not have the specific call of Abraham, know that you are called out, I am called out, to a place or walk we have never seen or known: God desires His people to come out of the fleshly;
Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
We are called out of our former walk in sin, and we must allow Him to begin that work in our lives. We also cannot get the full promise until we come out and are obedient;
II Corinthians 6:17 – 7:1 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. HAVING therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Many can recall being called out of wicked, partying, corrupt, lustful, evil ways, but do we see to what level we have retained any of those things? We may have cleansed them from the flesh, but is it still allowing filthiness of spirit? Do we fight a continual struggle or battle against the lust for those things? The battle will always be there, but who is doing your choosing?
The sanctification process can bring you out of the lust of the world, and give you the divine nature that we have repeatedly discussed, and sought, and travailed for; and the exceeding great and precious promises;
II Peter 1:3, 4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us unto glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Seldom do we receive this call as being to complete and total purity, but that is just what it is, the divine nature is that of purity;
I Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
The grace of God, if and when we will fully receive it, will bring us forward on this path of righteousness unto holiness, and He will allow us to walk in this complete victory: and it will be for my name’s sake.
For My Name’s Sake
Have you considered that King David recognized this full path of sanctification in his Lord and Shepherd, for his name’s sake?
Psalm 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Psalm 31:3 For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.
David further recognized his need for quickening from God, and for God;
Psalm 143:11 Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.
While David sought to be brought out of trouble, consider that Ananias had been told by God that Saul (soon to be the Apostle Paul) would suffer … for my name’s sake;
Acts 9:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
Paul had a work that he was called, anointed, purposed, and ordained to; he labored and wrought to that end through all the trouble! There is some requirement on our part to being “in”. Can you find the diligence, obedience, and energy to always go and work for his name’s sake? God has a specific calling and purpose for you, and desires for you to fully yield and fulfill that purpose. Will you ask, seek, and knock, and find the open doors that God sets before you?
In four different verses in Ezekiel 20 (9, 14, 22, and 44), God says that I … wrought for my name’s sake. His name is not only to be praised, worshiped, and to be revered, it is to be worked for: get “in” His name and faithfully and diligently work for Him!
Returning to King David, please consider that prior to going to meet Goliath he had already been called to be captain over his people; … the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people (I Samuel 13:14). David had already been anointed by Samuel, and the spirit had already come on him (I Samuel 16:13). When David went forth, does this give a greater spiritual understanding of being “in” the name, and going forth to work?
I Samuel 17:45, 46 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield, but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
David came called, anointed, purposed, and ordained to defeat Goliath, and worked deliverance by the hand of God. May you find the depth of being “in” Him and fulfill that which you are called, anointed, purposed, and ordained to, for his name’s sake!