For many years we have preached unity and practiced division. Competition has driven us apart rather than together, but we are confronted with a Harvest that is so big we must pull together in order to accomplish the task that is before us.
Jesus did not come to build walls and construct barriers; He came to tear them down. He did not come to exclude but to include. The way He lived and the way He died proclaims the purpose for which He came. He broke with traditions by being a friend to sinners. He broke racial barriers by going through Samaria. Jesus did not seem to be bothered by criticism of the religious leaders, because He came to the world on a mission and that mission was to reconcile men to God and to each other. He came to make peace. The foremost purpose in His mind was expressed in John 17:21–23:
That they all may be one, as Thou, Father art in me, and I know Thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me. And the glory which Thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; that the world may know that Thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as Thou has loved me.
In Christ the lines of demarcation which had separated the people—Jew from Greek, bond from free, male from female in their approach to God was destroyed in His death. The very moment He died, the Temple curtain separating the common people from the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom. This was a divine act of God. It was not provincial blood that stained the old rugged cross, it was divine blood. It was not shed in the province of Jerusalem, but outside the gate. Jesus did not die for the Jewish nation only. The High Priest had prophesied in John 11:51, 52: “That Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that was scattered abroad.” Here again is the purpose of His death on the cross, to bring Christians together in one.
It is obvious from the life and ministry of Jesus that He came to establish righteousness and bring peace and unity among believers. Disunity is the big sin of the New Testament. Division is wrong outside the church or inside the church. It is hypocrisy to talk about unity while practicing division.
The world cannot be “won” until the church is “one.” Unity is in a person and that person is Jesus. We love each other because we both love Him. Love is the key to unity.
Unity requires maturity, patience, and understanding. It is not authoritarianism which is contrary to the Spirit of Christ. The centrality of unity is Christ. He is mine, I am His. When we love Jesus more than anything else including ourselves we will stay united. UNITED becomes UNTIED depending on where you place the “I.” Christ’s love is big enough and pure enough and strong enough to transcend all the petty differences we have. Unity is not the beginning of a process but the end. It is the mature product. We cannot command it; it is a gift from God. We must keep it.