Unity, it’s the buzz word of the day. But, what does it mean? As Christians, are we supposed to be in unity with those around us? It would seem so from what we are hearing these days.
We have a new president and many of us don’t agree with his policies. But as good little American’s, we are to live in unity so there can be peace. Really?
The definition of unity is: oneness. As Christians, we are supposed to base all of our beliefs on the Bible, so I decided to see what God’s Word said about unity.
Here’s what Jesus said about unity: John 17:22-23 I in them and you in me. 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. NIV
He is referring here to being unified together as brothers and sisters in Christ.
And this one: Rom 15:5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus NIV …As they follow Christ Jesus…again the author seems to be referring to being unified as brothers and sisters in Christ.
What about the Old Testament? Ps 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! KJV
Now back to the New… Eph 4:3 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. KJV
Eph 4:13 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: KJV Col 3:12-14 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. NIV It is quite clear that in God’s Word, the unity we are called to is within the body of Christ. I could not find any verses that tell us to be unified with the world. But I found these:
Rom 13:1-5 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. NIV Eccl 10:20 20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought KJV We are called to submission, and to that submission we add faith. Faith and trust that our God will take care of us if we obey Him.
Unity = oneness. As Christians, we are one with God and his children, but we are to submit to governing authorities. We don’t have to agree to submit…that would be called “agreement.” However, we can not be “one” with the world.
1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. NIV
John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. NIV
When we submit to the governing leaders and “curse not the king” in obedience to the Lord, we are honoring the Lord.
However, I do not believe that means that we sit back and let whatever happens happen. If there is an issue we disagree with, we first pray. Then we get involved where we can. That could mean writing letters to leaders stating our concerns, it could mean taking situations to our courts and fighting in our legal system for justice. I believe we have every right to address concerns and stand up for what is right within the laws of the land.
Of course we are to first obey God’s commands and if we are told to disobey those, we must not. Here’s a perfect example: Acts 4:18-20 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” NIV
As always, it comes down to the condition of our hearts. There is nothing wrong with exposing and discussing the concerns we have. But if there is hatred in our hearts towards a person (as opposed to hatred towards a sin) than we are not honoring the Lord.
I know many of you are angry, concerned and upset. Let’s bring our concerns to the Lord and obey what He commands. Be in unity (oneness) with fellow believers, but submit to the governing authority in this nation and pray for them in love and trust God.