By Seth Brown, Adult Connection Pastor
American culture is at a crossroads. Over the past several years the culture has willfully and continually distanced itself from the things of God and the truth of Scripture. However, this movement should not surprise believers in Christ as we are simply “sojourners and exiles” upon this earth (•1 Peter 2:11). As we know from the old Christian cliché, this world is not our home.
Yet our culture has also been consistently calling for greater cultural unity and togetherness. The culture tells us that this ever-elusive unicorn will only be found once we fully embrace and celebrate our vast diversity and cultural differences. It seems, however, that this cultural clarion call for unity through diversity has actually accelerated the push of biblical, orthodox Christianity towards the fringes of culture and society.
So much for unity.
But here’s the truth about unity: because of humanity’s sinfulness and selfishness, true and lasting unity can never, and will never, be achieved by our own persuasive power. Try as we might, mere humans will never accomplish that which only God can do through His Gospel. People can, and will, keep crying out for unity, protesting for unity, or posting on social media all day long for unity, but authentic unity will simply never truly exist apart from a work of the Holy Spirit.
It is for this reason that unity within Christ’s Church is so vitally important – we are the ONLY people that can ever truly be unified, and the Church is the ONLY place where real and genuine unity will ever be found. Not to oversimplify the fact, but the Church must be the ultimate example of unity to the culture because we believe the Creator of all things unifies us through His Gospel. The Gospel, then, is THE great unifier because when we believe in Christ and the grace found through his death and resurrection, we are taken out of our darkness as individuals and brought into the light of God’s united and eternal family.
Biblically, Peter commands believers to be unified as he says, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind…” (•1 Peter 3:8). Likewise, Paul tells the church in Ephesus that Christ “gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith…” (•Ephesians 4:11-13). And just previous to this, Paul bluntly commands believers to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (•Ephesians 4:3). It could not be any clearer that Christians are called to MAINTAIN the unity of the Spirit and not to try and CREATE it.
My prayer for this local body is that we continue to maintain and nurture our unity through the leading of the Holy Spirit so that our neighbors and our community would clearly recognize our unity and the foundational Gospel of Christ on which it rests.