Irvin Himmel
Temple Terrace, Florida

King David wrote in the long ago, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psa. 133:1)

The following are some of the essentials of unity:

Unselfishness. One of the requirements for discipleship is denial of self (Matt. 16:24). It is love of self that makes some individuals strongly opinionated. The disciples in Jerusalem were of "one accord" (Acts 2:46; 4:24). They proved themselves unselfish by selling lands and houses in order that money might be given to brethren in need. No one was allowed to lack. They served God, not self.

Nearness. It is hard for brethren to dwell together in unity when they are not near and dear to each other. Paul told the Corinthians to "be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (I Cor. 1: 10). Unity reflects closeness of thought, purpose, affection, and action. Brethren who are poles apart in aims and objectives, attitudes and concepts, will feel distant.

Integrity. Show me a congregation that is united and I will show you a church composed of men and women who respect each other, show confidence, and face their, problems honestly. The Psalmist prayed; "Let integrity and uprightness preserve me" (Psa. 25:21). Whereas backbiting, talebearing, perpetual criticizing, and faultfinding destroy, integrity and uprightness preserve.

Truth. The unity which God desires, the Spirit reveals, the Savior teaches, and the church needs are not mere oneness, but rather harmony based on truth. Paul told the Ephesians to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit, then outlined seven basic truths or principles that are foundation points for such unity (Eph. 4:1-6). When people unite in practicing error, their practice is not made right.

Yielding. While it is never right to give up divine truth for the sake of peace, we must be willing to yield in matters of personal judgment. It is unfortunate that men sometimes press their own opinions to the point of bringing division and hard feelings. The Corinthians were divided over whether or not to eat meats sacrificed to idols. Paul showed that the eating of such food is a matter of indifference, but expressed his willingness to yield rather than lead others astray. "Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend" 0 Cor. 8:13).

Additional Requirements

There is more to unity than our being baptized into one body. The Corinthian saints had been baptized into one body Q Cor. 12:13; Acts 18:8), but they were divided (I Cor. 3:3).

There is more to unity than our agreeing to wear the name of Christ. Some wear his name in a sectarian sense (I Cor. 1: 12, 13). Some who wear the holy name of Jesus bring reproach on that name by their ungodly lives. Others do no more than pay lip service to the Lord of glory.

There is more to unity than our concurring that the Bible should be our guide. One may follow the Bible in theory but not in practice.

There is more to unity than our meeting together on the first day of the week. People who break bread together on Sunday but knock each other all the rest of the week are not in harmony.

There is more to unity than fellowship. Many who consider themselves in fellowship with God and each other, and who may indeed share in certain good works, promote dissension by their attitudes.

There is more to unity than praying for it. We must seek it, work for it, long for it, and sacrifice for it. True unity is no accident.

There is more to unity than talking about it. We must bring our hearts into full conformity with the mind of Christ. When "Christ is all, and in all" (Col. 3: 11), there is unity.

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 44, pp. 41-42
September 16, 1971