Sin of Division

Clinton D. Hamilton
Tampa, Fla.

Conscientious people are rightly disturbed over the divided condition of the religious world. One of the real causes of unbelief in the present day is the division among the professed followers of Christ. Three sins are condemned in the Bible more frequently than others; they are division, drunkenness and fornication. None of us can disregard the teaching of the Lord on unity and at the same time expect His approval. Each person who claims to follow Christ must examine himself to see whether he is in the faith revealed in the, New Testament.

The part of the prayer of Jesus should strike the heart of every believer: "Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word ; that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me" (John 17:20, 21). Unity among believers such as that which exists between Jesus and the Father will cause the world to believe that the Father sent Jesus.

In this same prayer Jesus also said, "And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me" (John 17:22, 23).. The perfecting of the body, the church, into one unity, will cause them to believe! Blessed is he who works for this unity but cursed is he who helps destroy it! When division arose in the congregation of the Lord's people at Corinth in the first century, Paul denounced it in these words, "If any man destroyeth the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, and such are ye" (I Cor. 3:17). Every Christian must be diligent in his faithfulness to Christ by seeking to keep himself within the doctrine which has as one of its fruits unity. Woe to that believer who destroys the church of the Lord through divisive work.

What has brought about such terrible division among those who claim to believe and follow Christ? What is the reason for more than three hundred different denominations, which claim to follow Christ, in our own countrv? The answer to this question is not only interesting but it is also vital. The source of information about Jesus is the Bible. But many who claim faith in Jesus deny the Bible. Some who claim faith in Jesus and belief of the Bible do not heed what the Bible teaches. Some who teach the truth do not try to practice it with diligence. Prejudice and self-interest often blind one to the truth and cause him to reach and practice error. Sometimes our love and appreciation of men goes too far so as to cause us to accept them rather than the teaching of the Lord. Human wisdom may be exalted above divine wisdom. This will cause us to reject the truth for some humanly devised plan. Such plans may involve the organization and work of the church, the conditions of salvation, the worship of the church, and a host of others.

There are fundamental consequences involved in violation of what this faith really demands. Assessing the causes of division is valuable in overcoming it. Until we understand the cause we cannot proceed to correct the error. In subsequent articles, I propose to discuss causes of division among professed followers of Christ, and then to consider the Lord's plan for unity among believers. I confidently believe that unity is possible; it will he a reality when each one wholly commits himself to the Lord.

Truth Magazine III:10; p. 24
July 1959