United We Stand, Divided We Fall
"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26–28)
Imagine a new community where all divisions have been removed; where every barrier - whether racial or religious, social or sexual - are broken down. That’s what the body of Christ is destined to be like, Paul tells us in today’s text. However, that theory needs turning into practice; and the truth is, the early church didn’t always achieve that. We often find disunity raising its head among them; and while some of that disunity was over fundamental doctrine, most of it was to do with ethnic tensions, naked ambition, pride, greed, favoritism and personal opinion – hardly appropriate to the body of Christ, is it? Which is all the more reason for us to learn from their mistakes.
There is an old saying: united we stand, divided we fall. That’s certainly true in the church. Division robs us of our power and effectiveness. It is a "spoiler"; it spoils our own life, producing bad attitudes within us. It spoils others’ lives, because of the way our attitudes affect them. It spoils the life and witness of the church as we pour energy into criticizing one another rather than getting on with the real job. Little wonder, then, that Paul was constantly appealing to his churches to make a priority of unity.
Divided we fall. But united, we most definitely stand! It was when the disciples "were all with one accord in one place" (Acts 2:1, KJV) that the Holy Spirit of God fell upon them in power, transforming them and thrusting them out to change the world. Their unity provided a powerful platform from which God could work, fulfill his promises and reveal his plans. It still does the same today. Give yourself to it and see!
"My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Colossians 2:2-3)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont