Theology Thursday: Unity in Christ
First things first...Make Plans To Attend the All Things New Documentary Premier/Annual Fundraiser! Click Here for info about the event at Murray Hill Theatre in Jacksonville, and stay tuned for other events in Jacksonville, LaGrange, and Virtually as well!
I was reading in John 17 last night, and I noticed the number of times Jesus prayed that His followers would be "1" just like He and the Father are "1." I then thought back through the New Testament specifically, and the Bible in general, and realized what a major theme "unity" is throughout the entire Bible. Unity as believers, unity of the body, united in brotherly love, etc.
I love the passages about the unity of GOD. One day we will talk about the trinity, but today it is important to note that the Oneness of GOD finds unity and complete satisfaction in the fellowship of the 3 persons of GOD. This is the first instance of unity, and it is the example that we must strive to achieve.
The book of Philippians, what many people call the "joy" book of the Bible, is interestingly focused on the idea of unity as much as it is on joy. At first I thought it was just a coincidence, and then I realized something about GOD and about us. Without unity, there is no joy, and without relationships there is no unity.
GOD is love, He is peace, and He is joy. He can only be and know those things, however, in relationship. He is never alone because He has all 3 persons of the trinity, and within that relationship He knows perfect love, perfect peace, and perfect joy.
Since Jesus is GOD and knew that unity was vital for a follower of Christ, He prayed for that, desperately, in John 17. He continually asked for believers to be One like He and the Father are One. Of course, there is the unity of a believer with Christ as well, but I am focused more on the unity of believers because of Christ.
There are numerous applications of this, but I want to discuss just one today because of our family's place in the world. As you know if you are reading this blog, we have either lived or done our work in Haiti for the past 8 years. That is crazy to think about, but it is true. You may be wondering what this has to do with unity, so here it is.
For the past 8 years, our primary church home has been a small church in Haiti that we could not even really attend that well because we have had a child that was 2 or under for the past 6 years. Even in Haiti, as Americans, it is difficult to find a church in Haiti where you can truly belong.
The point is, our primary place to find unity with other believers in Christ in this world is in a local church. After the past 8 years, I am fully convinced that GOD knew what He was doing when He instituted the church. Is it broken? Absolutely! To summarize what David Platt said, "If you ever find the perfect church, run away as fast as you can. For your mere presence in a perfect church would make that church no longer perfect and flawed by sin." Churches are not perfect, but they are absolutely and 100% vital and ordained by GOD.
I believe that, without the unity that comes from fellowship with other followers of Christ, we will never have the unity we "NEED" to grow in our relationship with Christ. Let me explain something that is crystal clear to me:
GOD needs unity that comes from fellowship...See the Trinity. For us to think that we do not need that same type of unity with Christ and other believers is not only ignorant but it is also arrogant and unBiblical, and those are 3 traits that I do not want to have.
Today, I want to challenge you (and myself) to find something that I have been mostly missing for the past few years...unity with other believers. The type of unity that comes from following Christ together, fellowshipping together, and helping each other know and follow Christ. After missing this for many years, I can say with pretty good authority that it is one of the most important things you can do for your relationship with Christ.