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What is the Biblical Concept of Unity?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What is the biblical concept of unity? This the second of a series of questions asked by David Hall, Escondido, CA

 

The pursuit of unity is not limited to the multi-ethnic church.  Every local body of believers, because of sin, is susceptible to attitudes and behaviors that can lead to conflicts, divisions, and the exclusion of people groups in their ministries.

That is why we are to strive for unity. The following is a brief outline of the biblical teaching on Unity.

·       Unity is the desire of Christ for his disciples, “I pray…that all of them may be one” (Jn. 17:20-21).

·       Unity is based on Word of God, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).

·       Unity is lived out among believers, “those who will believe in me” (Jn. 17:20).

·       Unity is a testimony to the world of Christ’s coming, “so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Jn. 17:21); “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (Jn. 17:23).

·       Unity must be earnestly and sincerely pursued, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).

·       Unity is achieved with love, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn. 13:34, 35), “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sin” (1 Pet. 4:8),”Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1Jn. 3:18).

·       Unity is contingent upon certain character traits that are the result of spiritual growth: humility, gentleness, patience (Eph. 4:2), unselfishness (Phil. 2:3,4), kindness, goodness, meekness, self-control (Gal. 5:22-23), respect (Rom. 12:10; 1Pet. 2:17), and peace (Heb. 12:14; Js. 3:18).

·       Unity is lived out as we intentionally practice the “one another’s” of scripture; love (1Jn. 4:7), devotion (Rom. 12:10), honor (Rom. 12:10), live in harmony (1Pet. 3:8), accept (Rom. 15:17), instruct (Rom. 15:14), admonish (Col. 3:16), greet (Rom. 16:16), agree (1Cor. 1:10), serve (Gal. 5:13), bear (Eph. 4:2), forgive (Eph. 4:32), speak (Eph. 5:19), submit (Eph. 5:21), encourage (1Thess. 5:11; He. 3:13), spur (Heb. 10:24), offer hospitality (1Pet. 4:9), be humble (1Pet. 5:5), have fellowship (1Jn 1:7).

Unity is to be pursued by every member of the body of Christ regardless of the degree of ethnic, socio-economic, or gender diversity in the church. It is best measured by the character and practices of the individual believers toward one another, than by the number of diverse groups, the greater our commitment to character and practice, the broader the diversity of our ministry and its potential for unity.

That’s my opinion I welcome yours.

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One comment

  1. Thanks for your good work on this topic. Your excellent analysis and commentary on these issues have been very helpful to me as I explore this with other leaders at our church. Glad to have you around on this journey!



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