By Donald Townsley
The word of God pleads for unity among the people of God. The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:10: “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.” Jesus prayed for unity among his disciples upon the basis of the word of God: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word” (John 17:20).
The Unity of the Spirit Demands
That Brethren Agree
The basis for unity is the word of God (John 17:20-21). All of God’s people are to walk in truth (2 John 4). Jesus said truth can be known: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). He also said that truth can be identified: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). The Apostle Paul said that truth can be understood: “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:17). Truth is always consistent because God cannot lie (Tit. 1:2). When we know the truth, understand the truth, and walk in truth, we will be of the same mind and the same judgment (1 Cor. 1:10) we will agree. All who appeal to truth for their standard in religion will came to the same conclusion when we understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph. 5:17).
Unity Demands That We Speak the Same Thing
Paul said, “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 Cor. 1:10). When we understand the will of God, we understand it alike (Eph. 5:17), and we are all to preach the same plan (Eph. 4:4-6).
Unity Demands Effort
The Apostle Paul said that Christians must endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit: “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). The word “endeavor” means to give diligence; to put forth effort; to try. This means that brethren are to work at being united on truth rather than doing and teaching things that divide them. We must all endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Unity Demands That Brethren Stand for the Truth
God’s people are to stand together against all evil. Paul said, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). In Philippians 1:27, he said: “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (NRV).
Unity Demands Oneness
The unity of the New Testament has as its foundation the word of God (John 17:20-21). This unity eliminates all error (2 John 9-11; Rom. 16:17) and prohibits division (1 Cor. 1:10). Paul said in Ephesians 4:4-6: “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all ..”It is the dwelling together without differences (1 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 3:16).
Let us consider Paul’s question to the Corinthians: “Is Christ divided?” The answer is “No”! Christ is not divided in authority (Eph. 4:5; Matt. 28:18), in message (Eph. 4:5; Heb. 1:2), in body (Eph. 4:4; 1:22-23) nor in plan (Eph. 4:3-6). Let us all be alert to the difference in Bible unity and “unity-in-diversity” that is so popular among so many to-day. This false unity is the devil’s compromise and is destroying the church of the Lord in many places. We must all work for unity that is based upon the will of God (John 17:20-21).
Guardian of Truth XLI: 19 p. 9
October 2, 1997