The Church: Congregation in the Unity of the True Faith
We confess in LD 21 that our Lord Jesus Christ gathers His church “in the unity of the true faith”. And that true faith, we confess in LD 7, “is a sure knowledge whereby I accept as true all that God has revealed to us in His Word”. In other words, Christ’s church is to be united in the truth. Its members must believe “all that is promised us in the gospel”.
This brief meditation, relating to what we confess in LD 21, is by Rev L Douw.[i]
“… endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit” (Ephesians 4:3 and 4a)
The Son of God, who is gathering for Himself through His Spirit and Word a congregation chosen to eternal life, wants to do that in the unity of the true faith. And that’s also how we should want to gather with Christ.
This can be done only through the power of Christ’s Spirit and Word.
Is that not the miracle of the unity of the church, that people of all races allow themselves to be gathered in it – Dutch, Chinese, Australians, Africans, you name it? That people of different nature and development, of different age and social rank, let themselves be gathered by Christ into His church in the unity of the true faith?
That miracle is being worked by Christ’s Spirit! But He does not do that without our being involved.
That is why we must be diligent to also preserve the unity of the faith worked through the Spirit, through the bond of peace. And that requires effort.
But then we should at the same time also know what that unity consists of.
For it does not simply mean a unity of people who feel some sympathy for one another. It is not just the unity of likeminded souls who happen to get on well. And it is certainly not the unity of the modern ecumenical movement which ignores the truth of Scripture and thereby the Christ of the Scriptures.
For Christ demands that the unity of the true faith in His church be preserved through the Spirit.
This means first and foremost that in the church there must be unity of faith and confession. It means that the church, in her preaching and administration of the sacraments and exercise of discipline, adheres to the true faith according to the Scriptures and to the Scriptural confession. That she keeps her members in this truth, and that we keep ourselves and one another in it.
Then, adhering to the truth, we grow in every respect in love towards Him, who is the Head, Christ!
[i] From J Francke (ed) Your Only Comfort, Pro Ecclesia Printers, Armadale, W.Aust., 2017.