True Body Life Results in Church Unity
May the God who gives endurance and
encouragement give you a spirit of
unity among yourselves as you follow
Christ Jesus, so that with one heart
and mouth you may glorify the God and
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The purpose of unity, according to Romans 15:5-6, is so that we glorify God.
- Getting warm fuzzy feelings from a sense of belonging is nice, but the prime concern is how God feels.
- Getting more accomplished because we are of the same mind and heart is good, but the key issue is that God is magnified.
The definition of unity therefore is not that we work together on the same cause or that we totally agree on all issues. We do not all have to become the same, or conform, in order to have unity.
Unity is the fitting together of different parts in a way that enables us to compliment each other, to be more complete, and to show the bigger picture.
When God first instituted the church, He brought together two very different groups of people, the Jews and the Gentiles, and made them into one body. God did not demand conformity (compare Acts 15:5-11). Gentiles did not have to become Jews and Jews did not have to become like the Gentiles. Each was able to retain their own individuality.
True unity transcends differences. In reality, true unity comes out of diversity. When true unity exists, differences become irrelevant. Who we are in Christ is most important. We begin to live on higher principles.
The source of unity comes in accepting one another just as Christ accepted us. How does He accept us? According to Romans 5:8-10, He accepts us unconditionally, while yet sinners, when enemies. He went out of His way to accept us. He died to make it possible. Unity, then, is found at the foot of the cross. The cross breaks down barriers.
The pattern of unity is what we see among the Trinity. In John 17:11, God the Son asks God the Father that His disciples may be one even as they are one. How are they one? They are each different, yet they are one in essence. They share the same nature. So in Christ, we are each individuals, but we share the same identity of who we are in Christ. When we look at one another, we need to look for Christ in that person and not be blinded by how they are different from us. In reality, we are already one in Christ. We just don't act like it so much of the time.
The cement of unity, that which will help us act like we are one, is love. In Colossians 3:12-13 we find a list of how God's people are to treat one another. Verse 14 says "And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
The evidence of unity will be seen in how well we live out the one-another commands of Scripture. We demonstrate unity by accepting one another, by honoring one another, by bearing with one another, by forgiving one another, by caring for one another, and by being kind toward one another. We love one another.
The end result of unity is a testimony before a lost and dying world of who Jesus is. In John 17:20-23 Jesus says that His goal is that we may "be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you (the Father) sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." Our unity reveals the essence of the Gospel, --reconciliation.
In Christ we stand united, but what is it going to take for us to demonstrate this unity? You will find some suggestions in the Body Life Ministry Manual.
Click Below to Read More on Unity:
- Unity Prohibited by the Need for Control
- Unity Prohibited by Defensiveness
- More Than One Way to Divide a Church: Personalities