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Christian Unity

 

            “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3).

 

            Many, in an effort to approve themselves, in their own eyes, have tried to bring unity into chaos. They profess that they are “interdenominational” or that they embrace people from all religious groups. It is sort of a “Come as you are” faith. Paul’s words state exactly the opposite of this human philosophy. The unity of the Bible is based on a common faith found within the teachings of the Holy Spirit. Paul told the brethren at Corinth “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Corinthians 1:10).

 

            Paul pointed out to the brethren at Ephesus that unity involves more than a profession that we are one. He stated, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  one  Lord,  one  faith,  one  baptism, one       

 

            God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all you” (Ephesians 4:4-6). Commentators tell us that “one faith” is the body of doctrine which is preached and practiced. Paul also told Timothy that a time would come when men would not embrace sound doctrine but would prefer false doctrines which would satisfy themselves (II Timothy 4:3-4). He also stated, “These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (I Timothy 4:11-16). Biblical unity is based on sound doctrine as revealed in the “Inspired word of God” (I Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:3-6).

 

            Unity of the Spirit demands the right attitude toward God, His word and the lifestyles of His people. Jesus prayed for the unity of His people stating, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all my be one; as thou, Father, art in Me” (John 17:20-21). Paul told the brethren that a certain attitude or mindset was necessary in order for the brethren to be united. He used the words “lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering” in describing this mindset (Ephesians 2:2). He encouraged the brethren to be patient with one another. He stated, “Forbearing one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). Unity is something that many refuse to accept because it takes a lot of effort on their part (Ephesians 4:3). In order to be united mankind will have to put off the old man with his selfish desires and unreasonable attitudes and put on the new man which is molded into the image of Christ (Ephesians 4:17-5:20).

 

            Christian unity also involves the ministry which the Lord has given to His family, the church. Christ has set us free from sin and its consequences through His death on the cross and the gospel plan of salvation (Romans 6:1-14). The Lord has blessed each member of His family with certain talents to be used both in the church and in the world (Ephesians 4:11-13). In his letter to the brethren at Corinth Paul compared the church to a physical body with each part working in unity with all other parts (I Corinthians 12:12-31).

 

            There is no such thing as “Unity in diversity.” The very idea is contradictory to itself. There is, when it comes to scripture, no such thing as “Agreeing to disagree” relating to the “unity of the Spirit.” Such statements are sure evidence that the truth is being compromised by either one or both parties involved. John warned, “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (II John 1:7-11). John clearly tells us that Christian unity cannot be found in embracing the doctrines of men because in doing is one loses his relationship with God (I John 1:9).

 

            Let us be united in truth and in spirit as God has directed in His word.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     --PER