“Make every effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)
We have been talking about the importance of unity in The Church – how we must have an attitude of accepting one another, just as Christ accepted us.
But let’s be really honest… we’ve got a real mess here. Churches, across the board, have a real distrust and distaste for one another. Those roots of disunity go pretty deep. How is any of this going to be fixed? How are we ever going to break down these distinctive barriers between us?
The answer always comes back to the Bible – to applying our faith to what God tells us. Our only hope is not human effort… our only hope is God’s efforts. And not in what He is going to do – but what He has already done.
What we all need to understand is that God has already broken down those barriers. He has already fixed the problem. The only real issue is whether or not we are willing to receive, and live by, what He has done.
Christ came to enable us all to wear one label… HIS! Everything He did was done to eliminate what was keeping us separated from Him… and from each other. The depth of grace goes much deeper than our human weakness and frailty.
Our lack of unity can only be fixed because we begin to value unity as God does. If we will simply value what He values… He has already provided what is needed to make it happen. This is really important… we do not have to plead with God to fix this. We do not have to get God to do a miracle to bring us all together again. We just have to go back to the cross and take hold of what Jesus did for us. Everything was fixed and restored at the cross – we just need to apply Jesus’ work of grace, by faith.
This is exactly as the apostle told us: “For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has torn down the dividing wall of hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14) The context of this verse is the immense pressure at that time, in The Church. The Church was no longer just a bunch of redeemed Jews. The Gentiles were hearing the word of Jesus and accepting it. This created enormous tension within The Church. You would be hard-pressed to find a more polarizing issue. Jews had been raised to view Gentiles… well, as the devil. And Gentiles could only see Jews as a bunch of self-righteous prigs.
Put these two groups together? Are you kidding me? God couldn’t possibly want these two to get along – let alone work together for His glory?
Yeah. He did.
Putting the impossibly segregated together and having them accept each other, and work together as one unit, is exactly His idea. It daily demonstrates the immense power of His grace and love. It vividly displays that there is no such thing as a barrier in Christ Jesus.
Unless we want there to be. Unless we choose there to be.
Everything Jesus did was to break down all the dividing walls between Jew and Gentile, male and female, rich and poor, educated and uneducated (see Galatians 3:28). Everything was reduced to one banner…
That is all we really need – just to know that we ALL belong to Him. It IS what He paid for on the cross. Unity. Harmony. Among diverse people, working as one.
Our part in this is just to be willing to apply our faith to Christ’s work. We do not really have to get Him to create unity in us again… we just have to “preserve the unity” that His work has already granted us.
Prayer Focus: God grant me grace for other believers… that I may do my part in “preserving the unity of the Spirit.”