We are calling attention in these articles to the subject, Integration and Segregation, as it is held before us in I Corinthians 12:13: “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.” We concluded our preceding article by referring to the amazing and wonderful unity of the church of God and of Christ. In the world it is integration or segregation, not both. The oneness as advocated by the world is based upon equality, upon socialism. In the church it is integration and segregation.
The church of Christ is one, whether we be bond or free, and these bondmen remain slaves. The question of poverty over against riches, of slavery over against freedom, of power and authority over against submission does not affect the unity of the church one whit. The scriptures do not advocate equality, do not advocate the abolition of slavery, the wiping out of all lines of demarcation between the various classes of people. In fact, this is exactly the wonderful characteristic of the unity of the church, that it is precisely this distinction between the bond and the free which serves to emphasize and focus attention upon the glorious unity of the church of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Why is this true? How must this amazing unity of the church of Christ be understood? Let us use an illustration. Let us use the illustration of a league or pact or covenant between various nations of the earth, of nations that differ in size and resources. Imagine, if you please, if a nation such as Russia were to live in peaceful coexistence or cohabitation with a country such as the Netherlands. How this would emphasize the idea and reality of a true unity! Rich diversity is an absolute requirement for the manifestation of unity. If all the nations of a covenant or league were equal in resources, in military might and preparedness, then their living in peaceful coexistence with each other would simply mean that they were equally afraid of one another. But when a country as the Netherlands can live in peaceful cohabitation with a mighty nation such as Russia, it must mean that there must be an inner bond uniting the two nations.
How applicable this is to the church of the living God and of Christ! Indeed, this church of Christ is completely and utterly unique, the only organization or organism of its kind. The world seeks unity only in the way of equality. The world’s solution of its problems, we have noted, is that of socialism. The world thinks that men can live with each other only upon the basis of equality, when the poor have acquired the wealth of the rich, when the slave is on equal footing with his master, when the child shares the authority within the home with his parent, when there is no longer any distinction between bond or free, when equality reigns supreme. But the church of God and of Christ is that unique institution where the bond and the free come together; the poor and the rich, the high and the lowly, the male and the female, the employer and his employee remain as they are, but are united into one grand, glorious body.
What a wonderful unity this is! The rich and the poor, the master and his slave dwell with one another in blessed accord, the one never seeking to supplant the other. The poor do not desire the wealth of the rich, the slave does not seek the freedom of his master; all the different classes of people within the church of Christ have learned to say with the apostle Paul, in Philippians 4:11: “For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” It need not surprise us, therefore, that the world has accused the church of Christ of being anti-social, anti any improvement. Indeed, it must be true that there is truly an inner bond between all these different classes of people, far surpassing all natural bonds and distinctions. The church believes in integration and segregation, is utterly unique, the only body and organization of its kind. What a wonderful unity!
This word of God, in I Corinthians 12:13, calls attention to the realization of this unity of the church of God, first of all, in the words, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.” We do not propose to enter into a detailed exposition of these words, or of what follows in the text, that we all have been made to drink into one Spirit. The apostle is obviously speaking here of Spirit baptism. Water baptism is not another baptism. We have only one baptism: Spirit baptism. Water baptism is only a symbol of Spirit baptism. If one sees a Mr. Smith walking on a bright summer day, he does not say that he sees two Mr. Smiths. He sees only one Mr. Smith and his shadow. Now we have been baptized by one Spirit into one body. This Spirit has transferred us out of one body into another. He has removed us out of the body of mankind whereof Adam is the representative and organic head, and into the body whereof Christ is the Head. This was accomplished centrally upon the cross, and spiritually by the Spirit of all divine grace. He has translated us out of the body of sin and death into which all mankind was plunged because of Adam’s sin, and into the living body of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Now we can understand, on the one hand, the unity of the church of God and of Christ. Why this wonderful unity? Why is it that we are one, whether we be Jew or Gentile, bond or free? Why is it that our position in life, whether it be that of male or female, cannot affect it? Why? It makes no difference whether we be rich or poor, professor or student. This is due to the fact that we all have been baptized by one Spirit into one body. It is therefore the one and selfsame Spirit Who unites and binds us. We have all received from that one Spirit the same life, are therefore controlled and governed by a principle that is far deeper than any outward and material circumstances. This is the first and basic reason why the church of God and of Christ is so utterly and completely unique, the only one of its kind.
And, secondly, we have all been made to drink into one Spirit. We have been made to drink into one Spirit, and this drinking, once begun, has never stopped. In Scripture the Holy Spirit is identified with living water. We read in John 4:13-14: “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” This “well of water” is the Holy Spirit. How terrible is the agony of thirst! The agony of hell is likened to thirst. Ask the desert traveler who craves a drop of water and there is no water in sight! Ask the child of God, who craves for the living God and His fellowship and is barred from Him by a gulf which he cannot possibly span. To drink into one Spirit refers to that activity of faith whereby we consciously enter into this Spirit, this well of living water, and enter into the blessed fellowship of God. Then we drink of the forgiveness of sins; then we enter, consciously, into the blessed love and communion of God; then God is not far from us, but is very near us, the God of our salvation, now and even forever. And now we understand, also in the light of this wonderful truth, the wonderful and amazing unity of the church of God and of Christ. We all, regardless of who and what we are, have been made to drink into this one Spirit, the fountain of everlasting life and glory. Again, it makes absolutely no difference who and what we are, whether rich or poor, white or black, male or female, of high or low degree; we all have one thing in common: the life of the alone blessed God through His Holy Spirit. We are all sinners, yes, but saved by grace. Indeed, in Christ there is neither male nor female, bond nor free; we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord. Although pilgrims and strangers in the earth, we are all heirs enroute to the Jerusalem that is above. The carnal and materialistic issues of this present life, the things that are earthly and carnal do not attract us. We have something far better: the glory of the city of our God!
One hears much nowadays of integration and segregation. One hears much nowadays of unity, of unifying the church of the living God. Let us not be deceived. There is nothing scriptural or Christian about any of these movements of church mergers. These movements are not from above by the Spirit of God. They are movements that are sponsored and prompted from below. The church’s cry and striving for ecumenicity is all at the cost of the truth. The Spirit of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ does not operate at the cost of the truth. Indeed, without the truth, we understand, no real unity is possible. This ecumenical movement will surely lead to the harlot of Revelation 17.
Having all been baptized by one Spirit into one body, and having all been made to drink into one Spirit, let us be a truly Pentecostal church. O, I am not speaking of Neo-Pentecostalism, the Pentecostalism of our present age. Having received baptism once, water baptism, they are not satisfied with this. They desire and seek a second baptism, a Spirit baptism. They desire a second baptism because they would perform miracles, speak in tongues. The apostle Paul, a learned man and able to speak in tongues, declares that he would rather speak five words that are understood than a thousand words in a strange tongue. Paul had no special desire to speak in a strange tongue. But these Neo- Pentecostals seek a second baptism. They are carnal. Why should they seek a second baptism? Is it not enough to be baptized by one Spirit into one body, to drink into the one Spirit? Is it not enough to taste and experience the forgiveness of sin, the assurance that we are righteous in Christ before God, heirs of everlasting life and glory? The psalmist declares his delight in being merely a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord (Ps. 84:10). Is it not enough to be enroute to the City that has foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God? We want more? We would speak in tongues which neither the people to whom we speak nor we ourselves understand? To whose edification is this? And we would perform miracles? What kind of miracles would we perform? Do we wish to perpetuate a Christian’s life here upon the earth rather than see him enter into the City of our God? Shall we be satisfied with merely the “ordinary, common” blessings of salvation?
Let us be a truly Pentecostal people, endowed with the Spirit of Pentecost, the Spirit of the crucified and risen Christ and Lord. Having been baptized by that one Spirit into one body and having been made to drink into that one Spirit, whether Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female, rich or poor, employer or employee, let us all walk together, as unified by that one Spirit of all the blessings of salvation, seeking one another, having fellowship with one another, admonishing and comforting and instructing one another, until that wondrous day when, in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall attain unto the full status of the children of God and be made conformable, fully, unto the image of our Lord Jesus Christ, then to know God as we are known, and to see Him, in Christ, in the new heavens and upon the new earth.