From Carnal Division to True Unity
In contrast to the previous point, the Lord would cause us to grow by His grace from carnal division to true unity. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:10-13) These are carnal divisions in the body of Christ, producing sects and denominations. “I am a Wesleyan Methodist, I am of John Wesley”; “I subscribe to E. G. White, I’m a follower of her”; “I’m a Mennonite—of Menno Simons”; “I’m Amish—of Jacob Amman”; “I’m a Lutheran—of Martin Luther.” Carnal divisions in the body of Christ. And there are even people who are trying to be “extra-spiritual,” saying, “I am of Christ”—yet with a separating spirit. Consider the time John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part.” (Mark 9:38-40) So I look at the Word, and I say, “Lord, where’s your church in Roseburg; in Winston.” Where is the church? The Lord wants to take us from carnal division to true unity.
“Ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos”—while one says, “I’m a Calvinist”; and another, “I’m an Arminian”—“are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” (1 Corinthians 3:3-6)
I once saw a chart about a certain denomination—they wouldn’t call themselves that, since they say they’re focused on unity in the Body of Christ—but the chart showed how there was a main group, and how a whole multitude of fractures and splinters had split off in various divisions. All these many divisions within this denomination that exists for “unity in the body.” Lord, help us! Deliver us from carnal divisions to true unity.
Here is where it starts. “But if we walk in the light, as he [God] is in the light, we have fellowship one with another”—we have koinonia; we have partnership; we are co-partakers in Christ. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) As you walk in the light; as you learn, and the Lord shines more light on your path, and He shows you what’s good and what’s bad, what’s sin and what’s righteousness. And as you walk in that, and you walk clear before the Lord and obey Him—see, that’s your faith coming out. “As we walk in the light, we have fellowship.” It doesn’t say, “If we walk in the light, we need to have fellowship one with another,” it says, “we have fellowship.” This fellowship comes through Christ—we don’t pick and choose, He does. All those that are walking in the light have fellowship with Christ and each other. That is true unity.
Colossians 3:14 says, “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” That’s the glue that sticks us together. Like that bottle of glue that I got that said, “The bond is stronger than the wood.” It is so strong that the wood itself would split before the bonded joint would be broken. For holding us together in true unity, the bond of perfectness is charity in the body of Christ.