"4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift."
We have to ask ourselves some serious questions in regard to what was said at the end of the previous Note. One of them is whether there is, deep down within us, a hankering after secession, a secret desire for it, on the grounds of establishing at last a pure church, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Well, apart from the obvious comment that if we were to find such a church, it would not be 'without spot or wrinkle' for very long (!), we have to recognize that this is an impossible ideal for this life. How easy it is to become unbalanced in one's attitude, when a 'separatist spirit' takes over! Now, of course, the issue of apostasy is a real and serious one, and it tends more and more to rear its head in our day for obvious reasons; and withdrawals in the past have often been made because it has been felt that a denomination has passed the point of no return and God has forsaken it. But the biblical evidence against such withdrawal seems clear. In the days of Eli the priest (1 Samuel 1/2), Israel had reached a time of apostasy, at the end of the period of the Judges. But it was in that situation of anarchy and apostasy that Samuel was raised up to be the mouthpiece of the Lord, 'and the Lord appeared again in Shiloh' - the place and centre of apostasy, the place of no hope. Does this not give us cause to hope that better days can yet come in our land? Indeed, the signs are not wanting that God is at work, in spite of the blemishes, in spite of the betrayal of precious truths that are the lifeblood of the gospel of redeeming grace. And if God can work in spite of all these things, should we not be prepared to do the same.