In any team sport the degree of success is based on how well the players work in unity. If there’s a lack of harmony from within it will diminish the likelihood of winning the game. However, when each player works in unison with the others it encourages the team to remain focused on the primary goal of winning the game. In addition to this, the spectators have the pleasure of witnessing a team that plays well together.
As Christians, we need to have the same spirit of unity. How, we may ask, can we achieve this goal? During Jesus’ ministry He stated in John 13:34-35 exactly what we need to capture the spirit of unity in the body of Christ. In verse 34, He said He wanted us to love one another as He loved us. This type of love is based on a choice of the will. In other words, we don’t have to share the same views, likes, or dislikes in order to love one another.
Within the body of Christ there are many different theological beliefs. For example, people differ on their position concerning eternal security. Some believe you cannot lose your salvation, while others believe that you can. There’s also the issue of baptism. Some believe we should sprinkle, while others believe we should be totally immersed for baptism to be effective. Still others disagree on how many times one should be immersed, or what words should be spoken over the believer as they go under the water. These differing beliefs, or views should never divide us as a body. Issues such as these have split churches and caused many bitter feelings of un-forgiveness to reside in the hearts of believers. This attitude my friend, is not of God. The enemy continues to work overtime in causing strife and division among us. Therefore, we must stay focused on our goal – the goal of loving one another in spite of our differences.
It’s through our love of the brethren that unity can be established within the body of Christ. The last part of our passage says in part, by our love, all men or people will know that we belong to Jesus. We can be assured of one thing, the world is watching us to see how we treat one another. Ask yourself, why would the world want to be a part of a body that bites and devours one another? That’s really no different than what they already have, wouldn’t you agree? It’s time to set aside our petty grievances and the sin which so easily entangles us, so we can run with endurance the race set before us, (Hebrews 12:1).
Yes my friend, these petty grievances within the body of Christ are sin in the eyes of God. We need to repent of this sin. Then once we’ve repented we need to get back to the work Christ has called us to, that of reaching a lost and dying world and bringing them to a living Savior. It was Francis Shaeffer, a leading Christian theologian, philosopher, and apologist (defender of the Christian faith) of his day who said, ‘The final apologetic or defense of the Christian faith is the unity among its members, that is the members of the body of Christ.’ Let us be challenged by this statement to move forward as the church of Jesus Christ, united with one purpose – that of bringing glory to Jesus Christ for the saving of lost souls.