Unity is the litmus test for the validity, strength, and effectiveness of any movement and church. It is common sense really. A group that thinks as ONE will be far more effective than a group that does not. And the keyword here is ONE.
As I have written before… [UNITY] is an all-or-nothing word. But, as with all things touched by the two-legged Adamic beast, it is impossible. And the reason why? It is – how would you say – organic like the universe and must be created by the creator. Meaning, if the creator is not the cause of it, unity is only a fantasy. Unity is only possible when it is attempted by the children of light (1 Thessalonians 5:5). Even then it is a rare jewel that is elusive to those who do not understand the secret.
Secret? Yes… there is a secret to achieving unity.
How can unity be had when people are so different? That is the key, my friend. It is the one thing that reveals the hearts of each member of that movement.
So, what’s the secret? you ask. Look at this.
Ephesians 4: 1b – 7
We have received a calling that should affect the way we live (walk).
2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
Here is the secret to unity. The ingredients, if you will, to the recipe.
To achive the divine thing called UNITY, you must:
- Be humble
- Be gentle
- And be patient
When you combine these three things with a love that comes only from God himself – meaning it’s not natural – you will bear i.e. put up with people that ordinarily you wouldn’t, for the sake of obedience. But, please understand. These three ingredients are not some hippy-willy-nilly feelings that will provoke unity. No. Unity is something to strive diligently toward while keeping Lazor precision focus on an object. And that object is the secret. Ya ready?
[The Bond Of Peace].
3and with diligence to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
What is the bond of peace?
Ya gotta understand. This links to yesterday’s post on legalism. You/we must be so focussed on preserving the peace you are willing to let go of differences. And believe me… there is, and will be, many differences.
“But, Shawn… I’ve been lettin’ go and lettin’ people just do their own thing and nothing gets done and I’m usually the only one giving in. What about doing what the Bible says.”
I get it… I’ve been there and got the T-Shirt. But you see… most people stop there. They don’t continue on with the secret.
How can a group of individuals – all saved by grace and not under the constraints of the law, all so different, with different lifestyles, different taste, hang-ups and attitudes, worts and all, yada, yada, yada… how can they come together and be in possession of the impossible, as in the unity of the Spirit.
Remember, as a body, a church, we come together to worship a person. A man who claims to be God. Jesus Christ the Lord. The unity that we should strive toward, this unity belongs to Him. It comes to us from and through His Spirit. He is the Prince of Peace. The bond is wrapped up in Him. In who He is. In what He has done. The bond is in doctrinal truths i.e. what the Bible says about Him and His mind.
Doctrinal truths represent the final say in resolving differences. If the difference is outside of those truths… for the sake of peace… get over it. Get over yourself. “Yeah… but that lady has a tattoo. He’s got a nose ring. And they smoke.”
Yeah… and they are accountable to God and God only, not you. 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Hey, you overeat. You take narcotics. You break the speed limit. You are judgmental. You are prideful.
Folks… we all do all of these. But, these are not what our unity is to be based on. We change from day to day. Unity… is one. Look at verses 4-6 again.
Our unity is founded upon the changeless ONE. And His changeless, infallible word. It is the only conduit through which fallible man can agree and lay hold of the earthly prize: UNITY. When the body of Christ is made manifest, here on earth, in and through an organic body of believers. Yes… it is possible. When the body of Christ functions with one mind, the world is changed. This is the importance of understanding the authority of scripture and using it as the glue in a local body of believers.
These axioms/truths in verses 4-7, are the essentials to maintaining the bond of peace. Peace, the person, the Lord, He is the bonding agent that holds all these different kinds of people together. Doctrinal differences and the governing of the church rests on the truth of scripture. Outside of that… you are given a portion of the meritless favor (grace) that you were saved with, to apply to love your neighbor as yourself. This grace, this salvation, was given to you as a gift. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us…. yet you can’t compromise on the color of the carpet or the walls in the sanctuary, or that kind of music is played, or if this money should be spent over there for that.
Grace ladies and gentlemen. Grace. Devine meritless favor possed by you and granted by you. Who’d ever thought?
7Now to each one of us grace has been given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Shawn Boutwell is an ordained Pastor with Made Alive Ministries which airs Sundays on youtube and is syndicated around the world with Voice of Hope Ministries. He is also the host of The Deacon Show heard weekdays at 7 pm EST on youtube. He is the author of the revised classic How To Master The English Bible. Click here:>> The Deacon Show