Unity and Peace
The Church came about by one baptism, one faith, one Lord and one hope. It is another way of saying that God has already given the body of Christ unity and peace Eph 4:4-5.
Everyone who is in Christ is in unity with His body and having God’s kind of peace (John 14:27) in him or herself. This unity and peace is maintained or lived out by the individual parts daily by submitting to Christ who is the Head of His body. But, if we choose to rather submit to self, we will be resisting the God of love and peace 2 Cor 13:11. And, by resisting Him, we invite the devil automatically to come in with all manner of his evils because he is the master of the flesh or self James 3:16.
All of the nature of Christ promotes unity and peace. His heart of love, mercy and grace made him humbly submit to His father’s will.
Without a new heart and mind (the heart and mind of Christ), death reigns. Unity and peace becomes a mirage. This is why God’s word to His prophets has been, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” Heb 10:16. This is the covenant of regeneration and sanctification. A new creation covenant!
New creations in Christ are a people of love, mercy and grace—that is the gospel. The gospel transcends the beauty of understanding who Christ is to actually participating in His nature. It is by participating in Christ’s nature that the Church stands in unity and peace.
Two people with the same understanding of Christ can fail to stand in unity and peace if they fail to submit to Him. For example, two Christians can disagree over a matter and go their separate ways. Then, Christ instructs them not to slander each other privately or publicly but if both or one refuse(s) to obey or submit to Him, they then break their spiritual unity and peace and defile others.
From the above example, it is clear that the disagreement is not the cause of the disunity and lack of peace but the disobedience to Christ.
Praise Worthy Example
The incident with Paul and Barnabas was written down for our example. It was not published then as a way of resolving their disagreement. They did not slander each other to gain support to themselves though their variance was so sharp to warrant them walking with Christ separately. However, they submitted to Christ and did not break their unity and peace through speaking evil of each other. Therefore, when the Holy Spirit prompted Paul to ask Barnabas to send John Mark for the work of Christ, Paul obeyed, Barnabas obeyed and Mark refused not the work of Christ on account of Paul’s previous opinion of him. This beauty of submitting to Christ is impossible without God’s amazing grace (power).
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace John 1:16.
Love, mercy and grace demand we relentlessly help one another grow in our understanding of Christ (Truth) and to correct one another’s misunderstanding of Him since we all don’t arrive at His proper knowledge at the same time. However, in doing so, if we permit selfish ambition, His purpose to bring us all to the unity of the faith and of His knowledge and stature will be defeated.
So then, let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual up-building Rom 14:19. How is this accomplished? The Spirit of God gives us the answer in Rom 12: 1-2. We are to submit our soul (emotion, desire, will etc) to His. A people not willing to do so will be charged with breaking the covenant of life and peace Mal 2:5-7.
Those who are in Christ have one commandment which they MUST keep and it is this; Submit to God and resist the devil. This is how to love God and others. Submit to God, He loves it and rewards it. Submit to others, everyone loves it and appreciates it. Resist the devil on behalf of others by not submitting to do to others what he wants. This is love!
Do not retaliate evil with evil but with good. By this, evil will continue to be distinct and reserved for punishment while, good will continue to bring unity, peace and praise to God Matt 5:16.
It is only in submitting to the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus) that we please one another in a godly way. Pleasing one another outside of submitting to Him is compromise that earns us earthly union and peace which is temporal.
God’s desire is for the Church to maintain the unity and peace that follows her into eternity. Brothers and sisters in Christ, husbands and wives, friends etc, God wants us to be eager to maintain the Unity of the spirit in the bond of peace Eph 4:3.
Therefore, you and I are daily being prompted by the Holy Spirit to walk in accordance to that unity by which we’re baptized into Christ. By His grace, we bear with one another in love by walking in humility, gentleness and patience towards all men Eph 4:2.
You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, and God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God—who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light 1 Pet 2:9NLT.