(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, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
Unity can be and has been a divisive subject – especially in Christianity! In Ephesians 4:3, we are encouraged to “endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit.” If you search across the vast landscape of church life, it’s hard to figure out what this really looks like in practice. Those of us in the Western world live in a culture where churches seem to be everywhere. Yet much of the unity among Christians only occurs within the walls of each individual building on a Sunday morning – and even then there is divisiveness!
Unity of the Spirit isn’t hard to understand. In fact, sometimes I think we read too much into it as if the definition is some deep theological concept. It is true that the means for achieving unity of the Spirit takes us deep into the mind of God. But the actual definition of it is made obvious.
In the Word of God, unity of the Spirit is an assumption. If we are in Christ, the Bible assumes we are one in Him. Unity does not result from the external. Unity of the Spirit is something that is an internal transformation designed to produce something externally. It is an essential part of our identity.
[box]Unity in practical terms happens when we live corporately the identity we’ve been given individually in Christ. We see it in real life when the Church lives out who it really is as a Body.[/box]
In Christ, we have the capacity for unity and peace that goes beyond anything the world offers. Regardless of whether we meet together in a vast facility or in the best shelter we can find, our unity in Christ is rooted in these seven foundational doctrines. These doctrines are not denominational particulars but rather these are the identifying marks of the Body of Christ. Once we believe the gospel, we are baptized by the Holy Spirit into one Body (1 Cor 12:13) to serve one God in a unified hope of His return. The challenge for all of us is whether we can deny self enough to embrace this identity and to see the difference between what is really petty and what is divine. This is the key to unity of the Spirit and ultimately peace within the Body. This is what can make the Church an unstoppable force.
Renewed Thought – How much of myself am I willing to lay aside to demonstrate the reality of Christ to the world through His Church?