Unity is Relationship - Part 3
9th February 2018
Christian unity is not about organizations; it's about love. There is no unity if I don't love my brother in Christ. The New Testament is full of passages telling us how important it is that we love each other. I'll conclude this series of studies with just one more such passage, although I could have chosen several others.
Paul uses his own sacrifice as the basis of his appeal to Christian unity. He'd travelled around the Middle East and Greece preaching the gospel. He'd suffered much. He'd often been beaten or stoned for preaching the truth, and he'd often been imprisoned. When he wrote this letter he was in prison again. Paul know that the gospel, the church, and the kingdom of God were worth making sacrifices for, and the sacrifice he asks us to make is simply to love all our brothers and sisters in Christ. Is that too much to ask?
In all our dealings, and particularly in the church, we should be completely humble and gentle, not thinking ourselves better than other Christians, and not manipulating or abusing them verbally or in any other way. We should be patient and [bear] with one another in love, and sometimes we will need to be. Church isn't always easy, but it should always be kind, gentle and godly.
Here's a beautiful phrase: Paul urges us to Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Arguing, fighting, criticizing, ignoring or insulting a brother or sister in Christ will never make the church a holier or kinder place. Sin always makes things worse. If you want the church to be kind, gentle and godly then be kind, gentle and godly yourself. Our unity is worth every effort. Christ died to give us peace. Don't be the one who ruins it.
And then Paul tells us why we should do our utmost to maintain and improve unity between Christians:
Surely that should be sufficient motivation for us to tolerate, forgive, love, esteem, respect and submit to ALL our fellow-Christians.
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.. God made us all different, he has given us different natural and spiritual gifts. He has given us different revelation. He has given us different temperaments, different preferences, different ideas. And He calls us to live in unity.
Difference is good, and love is good, and we need both.