“I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”(1 Corinthians 1:10)
If you visit many church chapels these days, you can see 1 Corinthians 1:10 written above as a banner. It shows that there are disputes within each church, so it’s heartbreaking, but we have to take a biblical approach to the unity of the church. Looking at the trend, it seems that 1 Corinthians 1:10 is used as a basis for applying business organizational theory. Due to this influence, it seems that churches are focusing on a controlled organization based on a unified vision similar to business organizational theory. However, it is completely different from the essence of the biblical unity. What do you think? According to this trend, when new Christians participate in the church, many churches teach the vision and tradition of each church first and lead them to become members of the church based on business organizational theory, rather than teaching how to unite with God through Jesus with patience and the Bible. Of course, this may be because they understand the biblical meaning of church differently or are vaguely aware of it. Since we talked about the biblical meaning of the church before, today we are going to talk about the unity that the Bible says.
“That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”(John 17:21-23)
The essence of the unity that the Bible says is not the numeric union of each member through any vision or idea, but the spiritual unity through Jesus. In John 17:21-23, Jesus clearly says that Christians will also participate in the unity through Jesus, just as Father God and Jesus are united. In other words, the unity of churches does not mean a unified group of people through any special education or training. We Christians participate in the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit through Jesus. Of course, I am not ignoring the church’s responsibility of nurturing new Christians, but insisting on guiding them to God through Jesus. It is necessary to check whether the essence of the unity is left behind because of seeking only results with emphasizing efficiency too much. The vine parable in John chapter 15, which we know a lot, explains the biblical unity and its impact on Christians. The Bible says that it is not possible for us to live in unity as Christians through education or a systematic approach, but by participating in the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit through Jesus. Furthermore, 1 John 2:23-25 says that this unity leads us to eternal life. Are you participating in the biblical unity? So how can you participate in the unity and guide others into it?
“No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us–even eternal life.“(1 John 2: 23-25)
In this relational approach, we can achieve the complete unity by knowing and understanding each other properly. Ephesians 4:13 explains that we should be united in trusting the Son of God and getting to know him properly. Pastor Martin Lloyd Jones says in [The Church and The Last Things] that the church must unite based on doctrines for the spiritual unity of the church. This means that our faith must be united in the proper direction according to the guidance of the Bible and the Holy Spirit. The complete unity and companionship of the early church in Acts 2:42 begins with “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching,” and the words explain that the process of this unity is shown according to God’s inspiration. What is it like? Looking at the trend these days, many churches rely on the unity through the business organizational theory rather than through helping to know Jesus with the Bible and to unify with Him properly because of seeking the results and the reduction of time. The rapid numeric union among local churches based on emphasizing ordinary love without the unity in doctrines and the organizational approach to promote rapid union through sharing vision and tradition rather than teaching and nurturing in Bible are not the unity that the Bible says.
“Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”(Ephesians 4:13)
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”(Acts 2:42)
To sum up, the unity is important to Christians. This is because the first step toward becoming a Christian is to participate in the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit through Jesus. Moreover through the participation, we must unite to form the body of Christ Jesus and live our life that fulfills his will together. In the world where numerous non-truths are prevalent , we all hope to wear the belt of the truth based on God’s words, unite with the Trinity through Jesus, and further enjoy and share God’s love and grace with our brothers in Christ.