“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” – Ephesians 4:4-6
Our world is greatly divided. We experience division in our communities, in our homes, and sadly, even in our churches. Though the church is meant to be a unified body of believers, many brothers and sisters in Christ have allowed themselves to become distracted by the cares of the world and divided on a number of issues. As a result of Christian division, we continue to witness numerous church splits and countless Christian denominations. However, this does not glorify God, nor does it honor Christ as Lord. This division that we experience is a clear result of sin and does not reflect the will of God. Therefore, in a world of hatred and hostility, the church must recognize the urgency to strive for unity within the body of believers. John 17:10-11 states, “And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.” When Jesus prayed for His disciples, He asked God to make them one as He and the Father are one. This petition made by Christ for spiritual oneness is a request for supernatural unity. That is to say that Christ prayed that the church would obtain a uniquely distinct unity that is otherwise impossible apart from the direct intervention of the one true God. Christ was literally asking God to give the church a relationship equivalent to the relationship of the Holy Trinity. This is a profoundly powerful request our Lord and Savior made on our behalf and should be one we do not take lightly. Thus, if we value the will of our Lord, we must desire this holy calling to unity.
So then, how are we to live in accordance with this calling to supernatural unity? Ephesians 4:1-3 states, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Because of our proclivity toward sin, our tendency is to be prideful, self-centered, and rash. However, these character traits are the breeding ground for hatred, hostility, and division. Therefore, we must deny our sinful inclinations and relinquish our personal agendas, so that we can cultivate a heart of service with a commitment to love. Supernatural unity is impossible without the presence of sacrificial love. In fact, love is the defining characteristic for a follower of Christ (John 13:35). And love cannot be experienced unless it is expressed. Thus, unity can be seen in love as it is expressed in qualities like humility, kindness, patience, and understanding. Of course, this is easier said than done. But in Christ all things are possible (Philippians 4:13). When we yield to the Spirit of God and submit ourselves to His leading and prompting, we will be a partaker of the supernatural unity of the Spirit that results in the bond of peace.
However, unity does not mean conformity. Supernatural unity does not require the church to agree on every theological topic. Rather, the church must seek to unite despite some of their theological differences. Though all truth is precious and worthy of preservation and protection, I believe the church can unify around the essential tenets of the faith (namely, the matters that directly relate to the gospel); while also giving liberty and charity to our brothers and sisters in Christ on the nonessentials. When our goal is to honor Christ, preserve the gospel, and seek unity through charity, I believe God is glorified. For the Kingdom of God is much bigger than our local congregations, denominational affiliations, or even national residences. The Kingdom of God traverses throughout the entire world across all cultures, countries, and customs. When we embrace our divine calling to supernatural unity, we will honor our Lord and become a powerful force for His Kingdom.
Therefore, let us unite in the Spirit and flee from division!