By: Sierra Bancroft
In today’s world there are many aspects that are working towards tearing this nation and all its inhabitants apart. To name a few; political parties, religious beliefs, and prejudices towards others. With the inauguration of the new president and the new year getting started, our nation needs unity more than anything else. I’m sure that most people can agree that we will be able to get more accomplished together than when at each other’s throats. One of the overarching messages and themes throughout the Bible is that of unity and God’s desire to redeem His creation. It is our job as Christians to help mend gaps and be the love of Christ here on Earth. Saying this is an easy feat, but putting it into action is another subject. Hopefully looking to the Bible (God’s tool to help us) will give us pointers as to how we can go about bringing unity to this nation.
There is one universal truth and combining factor that overcomes all other; all Christians serve the same God and have the same faith. Galatians 3:26-28 states that the reason we can be united is because of our faith:
“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (NLT)
Because of this, we are practically able to start conversations and communion with all other Christians, even around the world. This fact is one of the coolest parts of unity throughout the faith and is shown through, as Christians, going to churc
hes around the world and being able to connect automatically and share the gospel together. Our faith in Christ transcends all boundaries; whether that be language or cultural norms. And through this unity, we are called to peace with all other nations and its people; Ephesians 4:3 references this idea and principle:
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (NLT)
This unity of the Spirit is an amazing thing, but we are called to practically keep this unity through peace. While peace has an amazing reward of having no fighting, the other is unity!
We have this call, to bring unity and bridge gaps within the world until the Kingdom of Heaven fully envelopes Earth. This call is referenced in Ephesians 1:10:
“to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” (NIV)
Through this we can take from it three things:
- We are to be put into effect
- Perfect and complete unity will be a sign of fulfillment
- Unity is for all things – under Christ
Number one gets me the most excited and gives me the most hope for the Church. The way this has been worded gives us the image of being dormant in the beginning but once we are put into effect it can be like a volcano erupting for the first time! This also comes with the responsibility to bring unity UNTIL fulfilment. This leads to the second point, the daunting task of Christianity that is restoring and redeeming the world until Christ comes again and all is done! Yep, easier said than done! A comforting thought is that we aren’t alone, all Christians come together under the umbrella of Christianity to help each other because we most certainly can’t do it alone! That also leads to point three that unity is for all and is always under Christ. Often I think Christians tend to spread unity to only the Christians that are in their immediate circle. That was about the opposite of how Christ lived His life and He is the perfect example of unity throughout all of history. He has dinner not only with his disciples but invites tax collectors and sinners and replies to the teachers of the law with His reasoning of:
“Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12-13b – NIV)
This examples includes everyone and challenges all Christians to be friends especially to those who aren’t exactly like us. Many people who grow up in the church unfortunately tend to have the disability of widening their friend groups to those outside of the faith. This is our practical and necessary challenge that is harder to do than it is to say. Together, we can accomplish anything especially that of unity.
All of this is great, but without a practical challenge and example of how to bring unity to all people it is hard to get done. These challenges and understandings come in two ways:
- Forgiveness is the gateway to unity
- Understanding our purpose for unity
Number one correlates to Colossians 3:13-14 says:
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (NLT)
As Christ is the perfect example, He shows us that forgiveness is the key to allowing unity to flow throughout all those around you. Even if the forgiveness to someone isn’t accepted, it can be infectious to those around them and will continue to spread throughout a domino effect. Forgiveness opens up trust and respect between two people as well as those around them and widens the door for unity. If we forgive we are also opening ourselves up for vulnerability towards others, which never hurts to forward unity. The second point of this practical application is that of understanding our purpose and place in unity. We are called to work together and all play our parts as well as having the reaffirmation of knowing that the body cannot properly work without all of us being effective and able to work. We see this in 1 Corinthians 12:
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we are all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”
This is our challenge and our prayer, to be together and unified under Christ so that we can further the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth.