“for through Him [Christ] we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:18, NASB95)
In these two verses we have the Trinity—God who is one present in three—Father, Son, and Spirit, and our salvation is brought about by all three working in perfect cooperation. We are saved by the will of the Father through the work of the Son and the enabling of the Spirit, and as His beloved children this is how we are to live regardless of our religious or irreligious background. Not one of us was saved by our idea of God or our works proving ourselves before Him. Not one of us came to the Father but through the Jesus’ shed blood for us and the work of the Spirit to open our eyes to see and know and believe.
The Jews may have been a chosen people though whom God was to bring salvation to all mankind, but salvation was not brought by them but by the Son of God born a Jew. Prior to Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection the Spirit was present and working. The Spirit was present with God from before creation—eternal as God. But after the resurrection the Spirit came in a new way—a way which meant that all who believed would be drawn by the Spirit and permanently indwelt and sealed by the Spirit. This included all of those Jews who believed such as the apostles and those who comprised the early church. And it included all of the Gentiles who would come to believe based upon the word of salvation in Christ being spread to them. There truly is only one way and only one Spirit.
Having come to faith by the same Spirit we also are called to live as one in that Spirit who gives us all equal access to the Father. In Galatians Paul wrote, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:27–29, NASB95) And later in Ephesians we read, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4–6, NASB95)
There is not a single believer who is a second class child with God. Not one of us is His backup choice. But all of us were chosen by Him according to His plan from before the foundation of the earth. Think of it, we were all uniquely and individually made by God and chosen by Him. “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Psalm 139:13–16, NASB95)
Jesus told His disciples that their being His was not of their own doing. He chose them and in that choice they were assured that God would hear and answer them. They were assured of their access to the Father as we read in John chapter 15. “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” (John 15:16, NASB95) They may have had a special personal relationship with Jesus, but the truth for all of us is the same—God chose us, and He gave us access to Him. Knowing this we are assured that He indeed will hear, answer, and work in us to do that for which we were called.
When I think about how God orchestrates our oneness in Him and how He has drawn us to Him for His perfect purpose I can’t help but think of 1 Corinthians chapter 12 where we read, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:4–7, NASB95) ... “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:11–13, NASB95)
I love these words of Ephesians and throughout Scripture where we read of how God has called us as His children and how He works in His fullness to bring about not only our salvation but the oneness of the body for the building up on one another and as His light to the world who is spiritually darkened as we once were. We have been made alive, united as one, and indwelt by the Spirit of God giving us all access to the Father. And all of this is because He loved us and He brought it to pass through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son. There truly is only one Lord, one Spirit, and one God who works all things in all people.