United in the Lord
effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:3)
There is a sad
truth that Christians are bunches of divided people. Since the Reformation we
saw so many divisions and separations among Protestant churches. For example,
in the United States alone, there are some 250 different denominations and
fellowships of Baptists. Of course, we can say different denominations
represent many different aspects and angles to view the same God who is marvelously complex. We can also say that it is the way God made
us and part of being human. Just like a
husband and wife are different, they have to work hard to become one. But
differences aren't the problem. It's how we handle the differences.
In the Epistle of
Ephesians chapter four, God’s word lets us see there are several principles
about the unity of Christians. First, we have to recognize that we are different
than the world: we cannot seek unity according to the worldly concepts
because we are called by God (Eph.4:1)
Second, we have to be
completely humble and gentle; patient, accepting one another in love. Because
we are the body of Christ. All those who believe in the major doctrines such
as the Apostles’ Creed are our brothers and sisters. We belong to one family.
We cannot change this fact and have to bear with one another. (Eph. 4:2)
Third, unity is not a
feeling, but a decision in rationality, and we need to use our determination
to keep it. Sometimes, we speak harsh words against each other, and it is
hard to swallow. However, since we already have become one body, we have no
choice but believe that the Holy Spirit can lead us to become one. Any
attitude of escaping or avoiding is not right. We have to keep our
communication open. (Eph. 4:3)
Fourth, unity is to admit
that we are one body, one Spirit, with one hope. Division is to kill the body
of Christ. Alienation is to ignore the touching of the Holy Spirit.
Separation is to cut off the fulfillment of Father God’s plan for the future.
Fifth, unity is to
proclaim we have one Lord, one faith and one baptism. We proclaim to God that
we have only one Master, and we proclaim to the devil that we have only one
faith, and we proclaim to the world that we have only one baptism testimony.
Lastly, even in the midst of
argument, we still believe that God who is within us can change our hearts
and bond us together in the end. (Eph. 4:6)