As I mentioned in a previous post (“Unity: The Series“), this week I’m writing a series on the topic of unity among the body of Christ. I suggested that we are united in Christ, but we are not generally living in that unity (“We ARE united, but we are NOT united“). Then, I wrote that humility is the work of unity (“Doing the work of unity“), while refusing to consider other as more important than yourself (the opposite of humility) is the work of division (“Doing the work of division“). Now, remember, I am talking about unity among those who are in Christ, who are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, who are followers of Jesus Christ, who are children of God. This is the beginning point of my series. Throughout the series, you can assume that these are the people that I am talking about.
We considering the unity or lack of unity among the body of Christ, we must understand one basic point: Jesus Christ is the source and the focus of all unity. A lack of unity is an indication of a lack of living in the Spirit of Christ. We can give different reasons, excuses, and justifications. But, for those who are in Christ and living according to his will, unity among the children of God is the only option.
Unity is not about holding on to one another, but about holding on to Jesus Christ. This may seem like an obvious statement, but it is foundational to our lives in Christ and our shared lives with one another. Choosing to separate from others who are in Christ is an indications that we are not holding on to him.
If we find that we are held together by a location, a human leader or leadership team, an organizational structure, a denomination or tradition, a set of covenants or bylaws, or anything else, then our unity is not in Jesus Christ, and we are not living in unity with the body of Christ. In other words, we can unite with others (on our terms), and yet NOT be united in Christ. Unity can be found in many things, but the unity we need is ONLY found in Jesus Christ.
Yes, I know that some have been pushed aside, ostracized, refused fellowship. You cannot choose whether or not another follows Jesus Christ in unity. However, like Paul, you can still live at peace with all people as far as it depends on you. How? By accepting all whom God has accepted in Jesus Christ, whether those people accept you or not. This is a true demonstration of finding unity in Jesus Christ.
There is only one body of Christ. And all who have been accepted by God in Jesus Christ are part of that body. When we are living in Christ and following him, the we also accept everyone who is in Christ, in spite of disagreements, differences, or injury. This is the unity that begins and ends in Jesus Christ.
Series on Unity
- Unity: The Series
- We ARE united, but we are NOT united
- Doing the work of unity
- Doing the work of division
- Unity begins and ends in Jesus Christ