The great cry of the world today is unity—peace, harmony, togetherness, acceptance. Of the various factions calling for unity, none are really willing to give up anything they hold to strongly, or even moderately, to achieve that goal. Overshadowing all of that is the Islamic threat that says, “You will accept our beliefs or you will die!”
In regard to that staunch position and ideology, it is troubling to me just how the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America will be applied. That amendment says this, first: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
The Islamic faith’s “free exercise thereof” presumably would allow them to demand death to those who will not convert to their faith. How do you suppose a “liberal and progressive” Supreme Court will handle that one?
Perhaps that is what underlies what John Adams declare3d in a speech to the military in 1798, saying, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
It’s a “you come first, after me” mentality which begins at the individual level, yet reaches to the level of nations. It is divisive in all relationships—political, economic, social, race, gender, age. Is there an end to it in sight?
In the Scriptures we can find answers for all these issues, but those answers will not be pleasing to anyone who thinks of himself as superior to all that is around him or his certain circle.
The main theme of the prayer of Jesus in John 17 is oneness—being one with Jesus as He is one with the Father. Large numbers of the population balk at the claim of Jesus in John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” There’s no room for duplicity there.
Paul writes of the oneness, the exclusion of any parallel participants in these areas:
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
One Lord—Peter tells of Jesus in Acts 4:12:
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Then Paul declares, in 1 Timothy 2:5, this consistent statement:
“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
For certain the Scriptures are consistent that there is only one Lord, one Savior, one Redeemer. If God’s plan requires a blood sacrifice for atonement, as Leviticus 17:11 tells us, and it excludes any other means, as Hebrews 9:22 says (“for without the shedding of blood there is no remission [of sins],” then only one who was without sin could fulfill that requirement—Jesus Christ
One faith—Jude had this to say, in Jude 1:3:
“I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
Jude, a brother of our Lord, was among those earliest disciples and apostles who were clearly among those identified by Peter who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the Scriptures:
“Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).
The faith that was once for all delivered to the saints is that body of truths that were laid out by those earliest of the church fathers and revealed in the writings of the Scriptures. It was Jude’s conviction, and now a part of that body of truths, that “once for all” means it is not to be changed, updated, or replaced.
It did not need a Mohammed to come along some six hundred years later and provide a new version, nor did it call for a 14-year-old boy named Joseph Smith to replace it in the early 1800’s. So Jude exhorts us to contend earnestly for that faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
One baptism—this baptism is the one John the Baptist told us Jesus would perform, the baptism with the Holy Spirit:
“John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. Hewill baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16).
Paul also writes of this special spiritual baptism:
“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
In Ephesians 2:11-16, Paul tells us that Jesus Christ is our peace and in Him is found unity:
“Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”
These passages speak of unity in a common faith in Christ, Jew, Gentile, racial diversities of color, culture, nationalities—all one in Christ. But looking forward, there is an even higher unity that the Scriptures call to our attention:
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.
The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For ‘He has put all things under His feet.’ But when He says ‘all things are put under Him,’ it isevident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:22-28).
As Jesus prayed in His truly personal prayer in John 17:11b, “Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are,” the ultimate, unlimited unity is oneness in Christ with the Father.
The writer of Hebrews speaks of a starting place for that unity that is especially critical in these last days:
“…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
Those high and lofty ideals of unity brought out in this article are perhaps next to impossible for our finite minds to grasp, and it seems difficult to accomplish that practical one just mentioned. So for us in this physical and mortal world, let’s just go for the simplicity that is in Christ and embrace that old song we all know so well, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so…!” the world, in all of its disunity, will never find unity until they start right there.
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