A PLEA FOR UNITY - "Is Christ Divided?”
I Corinthians 1:13
Nothing is more grievous to the Spirit of God, nothing more detrimental to the cause of Christ, nothing more disturbing to the saints of God (especially young converts), and nothing more sure to prevent God's blessings upon our labors than strife and division in his church. Yet, it seems to abound on every hand! Therefore, I plead with you, and with my own heart, to walk worthy of the gospel, "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Let us for Christ's sake be done with all carnal strife and petty quarrels!
The basis of unity is the gospel of the grace of God. Anyone who believes the gospel of God's free and sovereign grace in Christ is one with me in the family of God and is to be treated as such, with love,respect, and patience. Though we may differ about many things, in Christ we are one, one in grace, one in faith, one in heart, one in purpose. Let us walk together as one. I make this appeal to three groups of people.
To gospel preachers - Do we worship the same God, preach the same gospel and serve the same kingdom? If we do, then we should never allow our personalities to divide us.Can we not overlook and forgive one another's faults, failings and weaknesses, and strive together, as soldiers on a battlefield, for the cause of Christ?
To believers - Are we brethren, members of the same family, loved of the same Father, called by the same Spirit, washed in the blood of Christ and robed in his righteousness? How can we hope to be united in glory hereafter if we are not united in grace here? Beloved, let us love, forgive, forbear with, encourage, and serve one another for Christ's sake.
To local churches - We are independent, autonomous congregations. No local church has authority over another. One church must not attempt to govern another. But we do need each other! Can we not have communion without insisting on conformity? Can we not be devoted to one another without dominating one another.
Real unity is possible only if Christ is foremost, above all and in all. May God teach us to prefer Christ and his glory above ourselves, and preferring Christ, to prefer one another, and so to be united in him.