The Body of Christ – Unity
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Ephesians 4:1-6 (ESV)
The Body of Christ – Unity
“That there should be no schism in the body…”
1 Corinthians 12:25
One Body, One Spirit, One Lord, and One Faith. There are a few allowances* (see below) made for division in the Body of Christ. There are none for sects or for denominations. These things arise from carnal reasoning, unsanctified living, and self-seeking. The greater the divisions, the more unlikely it is that we will succeed in making Him known.
The true Church is HIS BODY and cannot be conflated as “our” church. That which is HIS lives and moves under His dominion.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God,
they are the sons of God”
The statements and dogmas, the endeavors to foster and build up a brand or faction, are revelations of our disorder. Those who are led by the Spirit cannot thrive in such an environment. To be “moved” by the Christ within negates any party spirit of the factions of men.
“doing nothing according to party spirit or self-glory, but in humility,
esteeming one another as surpassing themselves…”
Philippians 2:3 (LITV)
When our behavior, our words, and our thoughts, are governed by a “party spirit” and move us along denominational/party lines, we are no longer being led by His Spirit. The factious rule of man has replaced the unifying wonder of His Spirit. There should be within the depths of those who live in Him a humility, an understanding that the privilege of belonging to His Body is the result of His sacrifice, not our merit.
The Basis of Our Unity
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 12:13
“For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.”
1 Corinthians 10:17
The unity of this One Body is the outcome of our being baptized into, and our drinking of, that One Spirit whereby we are partakers of that One Bread (Christ Himself). To deny these gracious provisions of Christ is to deny ourselves the means of our place in His Holy Oneness. The division is the result of the carnal. It is the carnal which is unable to be joined to that which is holy and true.
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:
for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”
It is the nature of the carnal mind to excuse itself from subjection to the law of God. By its very construct, it must contaminate His Word to spare itself from its devastating truth. It must negate God’s Word to maintain a semblance of compliance.
Whenever the scriptures are marginalized or denied there is a rending of the Unity of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit can never be at home where unbelief abides. The power of Him in our midst is lessened and we are left to wander in a wilderness of our own making. The consequences are devastating and eternal. The traditions and the doctrines of men make the Word ineffectual and powerless.
“Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men… Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition…”
In laying aside the Word of God our gatherings become rote. The vitality and wonder of His presence have very little impact on the direction of the meetings, and we succumb to the mundane existence of any other worldly organization.
“But now, indeed, many are the members, but one body. And the eye is not able to say to the hand, I have no need of you; or again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.”
1 Corinthians 12:21
Those who are OF this Body cannot say “I have no need of you”. True members of the Body of Christ cannot deny the Body of Christ. His Spirit within His Own makes them incapable of such an idea.
This is how we know whether our life is abiding in Him:
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.”
1 John 5:1
The truth of who we are is revealed in what we do.
“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
By this, we shall know that we are of the truth…”
1 John 3:18-19
May His Word pierce our hearts to free us from the contamination of the world and our own carnality. May the power of His love govern our conduct.
“By this, we shall know that we are of the truth…”
1 John 3:18
See Related Post: Becoming ONE
*NOTE – Exceptions for division:
“After the first and second warning, reject a man of heresy, knowing that he who is such has been perverted, and sins, being self-condemned.”
1. Heresy Greek Word used here: αἱρετικός, hairetikos
1x: one who creates or fosters factions, Tit 3:10.
2. Gross and habitual sin:
Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church
1Co 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.
1Co 5:2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
1Co 5:3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.
1Co 5:4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
1Co 5:5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
1Co 5:6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
1Co 5:7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
1Co 5:8 Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1Co 5:9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—
1Co 5:10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
1Co 5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.
1Co 5:12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?
1Co 5:13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
Note: The Church is NOT to judge those who are of the world, they are to judge those who call themselves by His glorious name!
3. The pretenders and the hypocritical
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away…
2 Timothy 3:5
There are many who will freely use the name of Jesus and present themselves as true believers, but there is a spiritual dynamic present in those who are authentic followers of Him. The “power of godliness” is only by the indwelling Christ. It is the hypocritical who “deny” this power through stubbornness and the carnality of self-will.
“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
The truth of our fellowship with one another is ever the fruit of our walk, not our talk.
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
1 John 1:6-7
If our fellowship is determined by any other criteria we are not walking rightly. If we determine our relationships based on a party spirit, a denomination, a person, or an organization, it reveals our true condition in relationship to the true Body of Christ.
4. Disobedience (willful)
“And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”
2 Thessalonians 5:14-15
This is to be redemptive in nature. These exceptions are ever with a view to minister righteousness and be the means through which true fellowship may be restored. They are never the actions of self-righteousness or perceived supremacy. As the scriptures encourage us:
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual,
restore such a one in the spirit of meekness…”
The pure in heart are to give all diligence to “preserve the unity of the Spirit”. To that end, we interact with one another so that HE may be GLORIFIED.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another…”
True disciples know, walk, live, and grow in this divine love. They cannot walk contrary to the Word or the power of the Holy Spirit. What we do reveals the true state of our walk in Him.
“By this, we shall know that we are of the truth…”
1 John 3:18
I invite comments or questions concerning this magnificent truth.