Biblical Unity – Part 1

Life in Christ equips every true believer with the knowledge, ability, and passion for maintaining genuine unity with other believers. So if this is true, why is there so much division in the local church today? Is there any clear instruction provided in scripture that reveals the secret for preserving harmony and oneness in the local church?

We should be honest. Division in the church could be the result of “darkness” attempting to fellowship with “light”. In many cases, there is simply no spiritual oneness which has been wrought by common faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “…for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” Am I being too harsh? Jesus warned: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Let’s assume though that all the members in your local church are truly believers in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s assume the foundation of genuine unity has been established. Let’s assume we have at least believed the words of Christ when He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” What is the cause of division among true believers then? The Church at Corinth provides a practical answer to this question.

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ . I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-4).

This passage clearly identifies the fruits of carnality. The Corinthian believers were identified as carnal (or fleshly). In other words, they were governed by mere human nature and not by the Holy Spirit. Their behavior was as if Christ had no part of them. They were seemingly no different than the “natural man” who wanders around aimlessly, in spiritual darkness, without Christ.

They walked as men. They did not walk with the mind of Christ. There was envy, strife, and division among them. The members argued with each other. They were not visibly yielding the fruit of love and kindness. Individuals demanded and clung to their own rights. They were jealous of one another. Contentious and divided, they lacked the fruit of a Spirit-filled life; a Christ directed life. Was the Church at Corinth continuing to bear good fruit? Obviously they were not.

What is the key to possessing genuine unity and oneness? How can a local church come together with “one mind” when we are all so uniquely different? I can tell you that genuine and lasting unity does not inevitably come by finding common interests or common causes apart from a focus on Christ. Oh, sure, we can all find something that pulls us together, something we can sit around and chat about on Sunday, and something that causes us to boast of having church unity. We can ascribe to a certain program. Or perhaps find unity in the particular way we dress. Maybe the church softball team pulls many together. Or it may be a combination of various activities, interests, causes, and programs. These things are not necessarily wrong, but they do not offer real oneness and unity in the church.

Real unity centers in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything else is secondary to Him. It is not Christ and…. It is Christ alone

. That’s the subtle, but powerful message to the Church at Corinth.

The issue is not that the Corinthian believers had envy, strife, and division. The issue is not that they were “carnal” Christians and walked as mere men do. These were all outer symptoms of the deeper root problem. What was the problem? They were “babes in Christ”.

Babies in Christ does not mean they were recently converted and had just become new believers. Most of us have patience for the new convert. We do not expect them to yield the fruits of spiritual maturity as young Christians. But the danger and warning for all of us is that once we receive Christ we have a Biblical mandate to specifically grow up in Him. When we receive Christ and then drift from His preeminence in all things, we may be involved in some nice, clean, religious activities in the church but lack the deep abiding love and commitment to the very person of Christ. Immaturity and the failure to specifically grow up in Jesus Christ results in a phony religion which is often full of envy, strife, and divisions. Jesus Christ must be the beginning and the end (and everything between). He must be the central focus of our life as a Christian. This truth applies to the Christian family, local church, and Christian community as a whole.

So let me ask, are you still a baby in Christ? Or, are you growing in Him? “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).

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2 Responses to “Biblical Unity – Part 1”

  1. Don Says:

    Preach on Brother Forrest. This cannot be over emphasized. God bless you through Christ.

    Don DeSimone

    2 Thessalonians 3:5 “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.”

  2. Biblical Unity Part 1- By Forrest Wychopen | King James Bible Believers Depository Says:

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