This past weekend we had the privilege of teaching at a joint retreat of four churches. Myself, Pastor Felix, and Pastor Micah covered topics regarding the church’s current state and future. As part of our responsibilities to teaching and preaching some were also asked to prepare a short devotional for camp attendees to read. Below is a short half page devotional written on church unity.
The Foundation for Christian Unity
“When the Bible speaks about church unity, it speaks of unity not at the expense of truth but on the basis of it.” – John Blanchard
From her beginning, the church has been identified as a people of unity (Acts 4:32). The Christian must be committed to maintaining the unity of the body (Eph 4:3). This unity is often misunderstood and needs biblical clarification.
The Bible teaches that true Christian unity does not tolerate sin or doctrinal error. Rather, biblical unity seeks to be united in the goal of Christian maturity, “until we all attain to the unity of the faith . . . to a mature man” (Eph 4:13). Therefore, true unity cannot be separated from the church’s purpose to be holy.
The very foundation for Christian unity is for the glory of God. The church’s unity is a reflection of the unity that is shared between God the Father, Son, and Spirit. In Jesus’ last moments on earth He prayed to God the Father (John 17) and in four instances He prayed for His followers to be united as one (vv. 11, 21, 22, 23). The very reason for such unity was the doctrinal truth of the Trinity and the perfect relationship shared between Father, Son, and Spirit, “that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (v. 21).
Therefore, one of the results of a Christian growing in their knowledge of God should be the desire to promote and maintain unity in the body. Just as our God is forever united and harmoniously living as Father, Son, and Spirit so too should His children live in such a harmony. God’s character is seen in the world when Christians live in unity and pursue holiness, because it reflects the nature of God.
You, as a member of your local church, play a vital role in the manifestation of the gospel here on earth by virtue of the unity and purity displayed in your church. This is why the Bible gives several warnings for Christians not to live in division or quarrel with one another (1 Cor 1:10-17; Jas 4:1-10). Beloved, pray today that you are contributing to the purity and unity of your local church by pursuing Christ-likeness so that God would be glorified.
“We cannot expect the world to believe that the Father sent the Son, that Jesus’ claims are true and that Christianity is true, unless the world sees some reality of the oneness of true Christians.” – Francis Schaeffer