Made for another world

"If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." C. S. Lewis

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What is Unity

I wrote last week of 'Life Beyond the Cross' proposing that Christ's ultimate goal in his sacrifice on the cross was the unity of mankind with God and with each other. So, what is unity? Unity is not you agreeing with me, or me agreeing with you. Unity is us agreeing together with God about who he says he is and what he says is ultimate reality. Unity is founded on the bedrock of truth revealed to us in God's gift of his Word. Mess with God's Word and unity crumbles before it's even begun.

Unity is agreement on the essentials and grace in every other matter. What are the essentials? The truth of who Jesus is, what man is, God's definition of sin, the way of salvation, the infallibility of the Bible, our eternal destiny, the nature of the world, the nature of God, and God's call of holiness for his people, all are clearly set out in Scripture. There is plenty for us to agree on and if we focus on understanding and living in the truth that is revealed it will more than occupy our time.

If, however, you and I do not agree on the essentials and dispute what the word of God holds out as truth, we can have no unity. That doesn't mean we can't have grace for people who believe differently than what the Bible teaches. God certainly has grace, inviting all to enter into his life giving truth, and he sets the example for us. But without an agreement in God's truth you and I will not have one heart, we are not unified, and there is a difference.

Unity comes among brothers when we realize our spiritual life is not an individual enterprise. We are better together. Indeed we are only complete as Christians when we allow the Holy Spirit to join our hearts together as one just as we are joined by the Spirit to God. Realizing that our sin, our spiritual health, and our participation affects the health of the whole body will bring a new awareness of the value of each member.

Unity also comes when we recognize how highly God values his people being one, agreeing in the truth and deferring to one another over preferences. "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:2-3

Solidarity comes as we live out our conviction of truth, as taught in God's word, in loving relationship. Unity is living as one people, committed to one another, loving the same God, empowered by the same Spirit, sharing the same holiness, headed to the same eternal destiny, seeking together lost people needing reconciliation with God and us, having the same desire to glorify and be satisfied by Jesus. Sounds wonderful doesn't it!

Whether the carpet is blue or burgundy, the music is too loud, the pew Bible's aren't KJV, the pastor's wife didn't say hi to you again, or coffee is allowed in the sanctuary, are all non-essentials. Let's look for the essentials we can agree on and celebrate together. This month how can we making every effort to live together in the bonds of peace?

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