Saturday, September 01, 2012

Real Christian Unity

In Romans 15:5, in the New Testament, the first-century preacher Paul begins a lengthy blessing, asking God to help Jewish Christians and non-Jewish Christians to live in unity.

Unlike so many calls for Christian unity today, his words were neither a horse whip nor a guilt trip designed to force people into organizational oneness.

Paul writes:
May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus..." (Romans 15:5, italics mine)
If the unity of a congregation or of a denomination is achieved apart from being in accord (or agreement) with Christ, it's not united.

Being united in accordance with Christ Jesus includes at least things like:
  • Accepting the divinity and humanity of Jesus, His virgin birth, His sinlessness, His death given in sacrifice for sinful humanity, and His physical resurrection.
  • Accepting the authority of Jesus, as God, to teach us definitively about things like salvation and condemnation, heaven and hell, right and wrong, grace, forgiveness, repentance, faith, love, servanthood, and hope.
  • Accepting that Jesus, is as He claims, the only way for human beings to be reconciled to God and that those who turn from sin and surrender their lives to Him have the gracious gift of new and everlasting life with God.
Unless congregations and denominations can agree on basic truths like these, there is no unity, no matter how people may be guilted or bullied into organizational acquiescence.  (Clubbed into the club.)

There's a lot of false, organizational unity in many denominations these days, but very little of the true unity that exists among those who, by God's grace, enjoy a unity born of seeking to live in accordance with Christ Jesus.

Churches who root their unity in history, tradition, causes, sentimentality, justice, human reason, or anything other than Jesus lack true, Biblical unity.

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