Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Michael Ramsey on Christian Unity (3)

This is the final passage in our series from Chapter 4 (“The Meaning of Unity”) of Michael Ramsey’s The Gospel and the Catholic Church

(3) Yet the New Testament leads us still more deeply into the meaning of unity. It takes us behind the one race and behind the historical events to the Divine Unity from which they spring. “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:5-6). The unity that comes to men through the Cross is the eternal unity of God Himself; a unity of love that transcends human utterance and human understanding.

“Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are.” (John 17:11)

“Neither for these only do l pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me. And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17:20-22)

“That they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; For thou lovest me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24)

Before and behind the historical events there is the unity of the one God. This unity overcomes men and apprehends them through the Cross. “It does not mean that there is a calculable number of men who are at peace with themselves; it means that the oneness of God triumphs over the whole questionableness of the Church’s history.” ###  Unity is God’s alone, and in Him alone can anything on earth be said to be united.

In these ways the New Testament unfolds the secret of the Church’s unity: 

(1) Christ’s people are the ekklesia, the one race precedes its various parts.  

(2) The people are united in the historical events of Jesus in the flesh.  

(3) Behind the people and the events there is the eternal unity of God. Thus the inward and the outward are inseparable, and the Church’s inward meaning is expressed in the Church’s outward shape and structure as the ekklesia wherein the parts depend upon the whole.

### Karl Bath, Romans, English Translation., page 396


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