Understanding Christian Unity

 

 

God’s Word Calls For Unity

 

We should all be familiar with  1 Corinthians 1, verse 10,  but let me read it to you;  “Now I exhort you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and there be no divisions among you, but you be perfectly joined together, in the same mind, and in the same judgment.”  

I want to break that verse down, so that we can fully understand and appreciate what’s being said.  First of all, the verse says;  “I exhort you brethren..”  The KJ says;  “I beseech you..”  Another version says;  “I urge you..”  And another says; “I appeal to you..”   The point is, God is doing more than simply asking us to be united.  He’s not just suggesting our unity.  This is an urging, it’s an exhorting, it’s a beseeching, it is a “call to unity”!   God is calling us to agreement!  Agreement with Him, and agreement with one another.

Colossians 3:15  tells us to  “..Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, unto which also you were called, in ONE body;  And become thankful!”  We are “called” unto one purpose, and unto one body.  That one purpose, is that the peace of Christ should rule in our hearts, which also implies in our minds.  And being of one mind and purpose, we have also been called into one body;  Into one unified group of persons.  That’s what we’re called to be.  

And that verse also says;  “And become thankful!”  It probably says “be thankful” in your bible, but the meaning is to “become thankful”.  It implies a transitioning, from not being very thankful, to becoming thankful.  Just as we are to come into agreement, we are also to come into thankfulness.

 

Back to  1 Corinthians 1, verse 10;   God exhorts us, He calls us, in the name of Jesus Christ, who has all authority, that we all speak the same thing.  To “speak” in this verse, means MORE than just to say something.  The word translated “speak”, has a much more “impactful” meaning than that.  The word originally meant..  “to lay down to sleep”.  And it later came to be used to refer to..  “laying an argument to rest”.  Put it to sleep!  And that’s how the word is used here.  If we ever had differing opinions, about a religious topic, we are called by God, to lay those differences to rest, to put them to sleep, and to all speak the same thing!

In other words;  Lay aside all “opinions”, put them to rest, and “accept” the truth as spoken in God’s word.  “Bring it to a closure”, that’s another way of saying it.  “Lay it to rest”, “put it to sleep”, “bring it to a closure”, “SPEAK the same thing!”

The Apostle Paul used the word over and over again, and many times, it’s translated..  “What shall I say then?”  In other words, This is what it all boils down to, we’re going to bring it to a closure.  It says in  Romans 7, verse 7;  “What shall we say then?  Is the law sin?  May it never be!  On the contrary..”  

“What shall we say then?”  Let’s lay aside the speculation and the controversy.  Let’s bring this question to a closure, and to a conclusion.

Shortly before Jesus was to be crucified, He said in  John 12:27;  “Now My soul has become troubled.  And what shall I say;  Father save Me from this hour?  But for this purpose I came to this hour!” 

“What shall I say?”  Let’s lay this to rest;  But for this purpose I came to this hour!”

 

When we answer God’s call to come to agreement with His word, we are bringing to a closure every opinion that might have ever had, which may be contrary to His word, and we put those questions to rest.  This is what we’re called to do!  It’s really not optional, it’s our purpose to agree.

Jesus prayed, in  John 17:18 thru 21;  “As Thou didst send me into the world, I have also sent them into the world.  And for their sakes, I sanctify Myself , that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.  I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word.  That they may all be one, even as Thou Father, in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.”  

And in line with being in agreement with Christ, Paul wrote in  2 Corinthians 10, verse 5;  “We are destroying speculations, and every lofty thing, raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought, captive, to the obedience of Christ.”  

And these “speculations”, that Paul says that he and other Christians are “destroying”, that has to include even our own “speculations”.  We even need to put our own speculations to rest, in favor of the “knowledge” of God.  Knowledge must take precedent, over speculations, if we’re going to be in agreement.  In other words, what the bible says, take precedent over what we may think.

 

Let’s go back to  1 Corinthians 1, verse 10  once more.  We’re called out by God, to all speak the same thing, and to put all else to rest;  And then it says;  “..and there be no divisions among you, but you be perfectly joined together, in the same mind, and in the same judgment.”  

No divisions, no dissensions, no “tears” in the body, but you be perfectly joined together..”  The NASB says;  “..but you be made complete..”  The body of Christ, is to be “completed”, or in other words, it is to  be “brought into it’s proper condition”.   This phrase expresses the idea of preparing something, for it’s full use and purpose.  The very purpose of the body of Christ, is to be one!  There is one faith, one body, one Lord, one hope of our calling,  (Ephesians 4:4 & 5)  and one purpose.

One purpose, one mind, one judgment.  Being of the same mind, means that we should have the same thoughts pertaining to religious matters, and the same understanding of those matters, and the same reasoning.

Romans 12, verses 2 & 3  go along with these thoughts;  “And do not be conformed to this world..  (this world is where all the divisions come from)  but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..  (we need to renew our minds so that they all understand the same)  ..that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, and acceptable, and perfect.” (or complete)  

Now  verse 3;  “For through the grace given to me, I say to every man among you, not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think, but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” 

“Sound judgment” comes from renewing our minds, so that we put to rest, speculations, and anything that is raised up against the word of God, so that we can mend any “tears” that may be in the body, and so that we can be “knit together”, or “made complete”, so that we carry out our purpose as Christians.  We need to be one, in the Father and the Son, so that the world may know that Jesus was sent from God.

All these verses that I’ve mentioned, fit together perfectly, and they all express the same thoughts that we all need to have in common.  God’s word urges us, and beseeches us, and calls us, to be as perfectly fit together, as His word is perfectly fit together.

The purpose of Christ’s church, is to be united as one!  That’s the very reason that there IS only one body!  And it’s such a shame that so few people understand that fact.  And so few people are willing to work together, to bring the church into it’s proper completed condition.  You know what keeps people from being willing to do that?  Pride!  People are too proud to change.

We need humility, and we need desire!  Humility to accept the fact that we might be wrong, in regards to something.  And desire, to know the truth!  And without those two things, we’re lost.

 

I’d like to share with you, something that someone wrote concerning Christian faith.  And I think that this ahs to do with being willing to study, in order to put to rest, personal beliefs about religion, and about salvation, and come to agreement with what the bible says.

So, this man wrote;  “We’re at a point in Christianity, where people don’t care if you can back it up with bible.  Their feelings, desires, and emotions, override what scripture says.  They don’t follow Christ, they follow self.”

Someone else wrote in and said;  “So very sad but true.  Following feelings is dangerous, because feelings are so fickle.  Our life needs to be based in fact, which leads to faith.”

Now, that all sounds perfectly logical and true.  It’s truly a shame how so many people want to rely on their personal feelings, or on what they’ve been taught previously, and are not willing to study the bible enough, to see what the bible truly says.

Listen to how this gentleman continues.  He starts talking about baptism, and here’s what he says;  “If baptism were a requirement for salvation, would not all the scriptures that talk about being saved, say that baptism is required?”

Well, how would you answer that?  Does every verse of scripture that deals with salvation, have to mention baptism, in order for baptism to be essential?  Of course it doesn’t.  There’s nothing like telling God how He should have written the bible!  And doesn’t that contradict what he just said, about following our feelings?  He feel that every verse that talks about salvation, should mention baptism.  Well, obviously God doesn’t feel the same way.

So anyhow, the gentleman goes on to cite several verses that don’t say anything about baptism.  some of them talk about faith, and some about confession, and some about righteousness, and repentance, but none of them mention baptism.

So I wrote in response to that, and tried to show him that it’s simply not true that every verse that speaks about salvation, has to necessarily mention everything, that’s required for salvation.  So here’s exactly what I wrote;

“No sir, all verses that deal with salvation would not be required to include the teaching of baptism. Just like all verses that deal with salvation do not mention repentance. But yet repentance is mandatory to forgiveness. And all verses that deal with salvation don’t mention believing, but believing is mandatory. And what about confessing the name of Jesus? Jesus plainly said that if we confess Him before men, He will confess us before His Father who is in heaven. But if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before His Father who is in heaven. Not one word mentioned about faith, not one word about repentance, not one word about baptism. Can you confess Jesus and be saved if you in fact don’t believe in Jesus? You see Tom, in order to understand the scriptures and God’s plan of salvation, we must take ALL verses of scripture together, not just take one or two, and think that we have the whole teaching. Let’s you and I study this in more detail, shall we?”

Well, Tom didn’t like that response.  Here’s what he said;  “Jim I will have to ask that you not question what I write in a public setting, because you are confusing the people who read my stuff.
I would be happy to do a study with you in a private setting but I require of you the same that I require of anyone I study with. Not out to prove a belief, but to discover truth. and be willing to change beliefs if shown to be wrong from scripture.”

Don’t question what I write, in public.  That’s quite a statement.  Personally, I hope that people are confused by what they are hearing.  I hope they’re confused enough to read for themselves what the bible says.  And I should mention, that upon further discussion with tom, he did agree to have a study with me, but unfortunately, he hasn’t followed through with his agreement.

 

Now, the moral of the story.  God says that the purpose of the body of Christ, is for it to arrive at it’s completed condition, of being in agreement, so that the world may know that Jesus is the Christ, and that he was sent from God.  But the fulfillment of that purpose, required honesty, and diligent study.  And the question for us is;  Are we willing to be that honest, and that diligent?

 

 

 

 

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