An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

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)

The Bible is replete with references to blessed unity under God. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” observed the psalmist (Psalm 133:1). This kind of unity is a blessing just because it reflects the divine, holy unity shared between the members of the Blessed Trinity. It is God’s desire, expressed by way of divine commands, that we maintain unity in the household of faith. Paul wrote to the church in 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” (1 Corinthians 1:10). The great apostle similarly instructed the believers at Philippi, “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Philippians 2:1-2). Unity under the headship of Christ is indeed a precious blessing; it is definitely something we should all be striving for in the household of faith. Uniformity, however, is something different. It is a forced and artificial unity rather than genuine, Spirit-led harmony. The various cult systems display amazing uniformity. At their leaders’ insistence, adherents are virtual “carbon copies” of one another, looking, acting, and sounding like every other member of the cult. How different Christ intends things to be in the local extensions of His body and bride. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” wrote Paul (2 Corinthians 3:17), and among God’s redeemed in the present dispensation, there can be latitude of belief and opinion. In Paul’s day, some felt compelled to observe the Jewish religious calendar and dietary restrictions as outlined in the Mosaic Law. Others, however, felt no such obligations. Who was right? Paul explained that this difference of opinion was perfectly acceptable in Christ’s church; unity of the Spirit is compatible with diversity of opinion. “One man esteemeth one day above another,” wrote Paul, “another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5). So long as we don’t judge one another unjustly, or, worse yet, deliberately offend one another, we can tolerate different opinions and respect those who hold them (Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8). One day, we will “all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). Until then, may we “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

God bless,

pastor john