Challenges to Unity in Christ
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, just prior to dying on the cross prayed, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20,21). Yet, today we see religious disunity everywhere! Why?
There are many reasons that the followers of Christ are not united. Let’s consider some challenges to unity in the Lord’s church that the apostle Paul endeavored to correct in his first letter to the Corinthians.
The first was following someone other than the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:10-13). In this text Paul called the Christians at Corinth to unite by speaking the same thing, by being of the same mind, and having the same judgment. Also, through a series of questions he helped them to see that the only person to follow was Jesus Christ.
Secondly, Paul attributed carnality (i.e. a fleshly mind rather than a spiritual mind, 3:1-11) to disharmony. Pride and position get in the way of brethren having the proper treatment of each other. Knowing that Jesus is our foundation, and that everyone else is just a servant, helps us to be humble in all things. We have spiritual minds when we humbly build everything upon Jesus and His word.
The third situation that caused division with the Corinthians was the keeping of the Lord’s Supper (11:17-34). Those Christians made the communion of Christ a common meal, and mistreated each other when serving that meal. They were not making a distinction between what was to be done at home and at the assembly of the saints. They were not discerning the body and blood of Christ. They were not showing common courtesy when coming together to praise and worship God. We are called upon to partake together in the communion showing kindness while centering our minds and hearts on the true meaning of our Lord’s sacrifice for each of us. The supper of Christ should bring us to a united fellowship.
All these factors contributed to discord in the church. Today we can see that we have similar challenges to our unity, and because of them, we see much division amongst those who claim to follow Jesus Christ.
Christians in the New Testament times, as well in every age have failed to allow Jesus and His teaching to be the center of their focus. May God bless us to have the constant desire to seek peace and pursue it, ever dedicated to pleasing Him.
by Ron Drumm