Unity of believers
By Pastor Belinda Benton
“Behold (take notice) how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! …for there the Lord commanded the blessing — Life forevermore.” Psalms 133:1-3.
To dwell in unity with the brethren is to live closely in one accord, having things in common and especially to be of one heart and one mind. Jesus prayed to the Father a prayer of unity for those who presently believed in Him and for those who would believe in Him through their words. He prayed that they would be one even as He and the Father are one (John 17:20-23).
Paul speaks to us in Ephesians 4:3 about endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. To ‘endeavor’ simply means to work hard at, to labor, or to put great effort into it. It literally becomes our job as Christians to walk in the right attitudes with all other believers and to walk in and be led by the Spirit of God which bonds us in peace.
Paul gives us the “attitudes” needed to walk in unity. He mentions we should walk with all lowliness and gentleness. Our eyes should not just be on self, but we are to consider others and be sensitive to their needs.
“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”1 John 3:17
We must also walk in gentleness. That is to be soft, kind and not violent in speech or action. It is a soft answer that turns away wrath. Arguments lead to division and not to unity.
He also calls us to be long suffering, bearing with one another in love. We are called to walk with patience towards those with shortcomings and weaknesses. No one is perfect, and unless we can learn to be patient and forgive, unity will not be possible.
Paul goes on to say, “There is one body and one Spirit … One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, and in you all.” He is saying that we, as the Body of Christ, are one, and we are of one Spirit, the Holy Spirit from the Father. We have one Lord, Jesus Christ, and one God and Father: the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
He also says there is one faith and one baptism. In Ephesians 4:11-14, Paul tells us about the five-fold ministry — apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers — that have been given to the Body of Christ.
He says, “…for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the edifying or building up of the Body of Christ till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God … that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried away with every wind of doctrine.”
God’s plan for unity is for those who have accepted Jesus as their LORD AND SAVIOR. These are the people that we are to become one with and have things in common with. Yes, we are to love all people and meet the needs of some who don’t know Him yet, but we are always to be pointing them to Jesus.
However, in this world filled with so much hatred and terror, there is a pull to get unified with all people of all religions, even those that do not worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. There is the inviting of leaders of false religions, who worship false gods, to come into the house of God (our Christian churches) and worship their gods alongside of us. They are invited to pray their prayers to these false gods aloud as a sign of unity.
This is not the unity that Jesus prayed for. He makes it very plain in 2 Corinthians 6: 11-18 that we are not to be unequally yoked (united together as one) with nonbelievers.
We are not to have fellowship with lawlessness, and there can be no agreement or harmony with false gods and false religions. Why? Because we are the temple of the living God, and as His dwelling place we are commanded to “come out from among them, and be separate.”
Our God is a jealous God, and we are not to combine our worship to Him with others worshipping false gods. That is an abomination to Him! So, don’t be confused.
Follow the word of God, and you won’t get off track. Our unity is with believers only! When believers dwell in unity then the blessing of life forevermore will be there!