By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
It is important for Christians to be united in the word of God. We are united if you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, died for the sins of the world, and rose again on the third day. We are united if you believe Jesus is going to return in all His glory to judge the world. We are united if you believe baptism is the death of your old self, and the birth of your new self in Christ.
Ephesians 4:3-6 (ESV): Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
However, if we do not share these traits, then we are not united in Christ. The kingdom of God cannot be divided against itself. In fact, nothing can continue to exist if the people are divided against each other. When Christians do not agree about the Gospel, they make it difficult to convert an unbeliever. When an unbeliever sees fractions within the church, whether an issue of doctrine or opinion, the church’s influence is weakened. Disagreements among believers tend to progress into larger divisions, which can lead to church’s splitting or dying altogether.
Mark 3:24-26 (ESV): If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.
How many different church buildings/signs/names do you see when you are driving to your place of worship? I see almost a dozen every day, and I can’t help but think, this is not what Christ wanted. In a couple circumstances, the churches are built right next to each other. Multiple churches are across the street from each other, or within a few blocks. And it is not as though these churches are filled to capacity. They are often smaller congregations that are divided on matters of opinion. Sometimes the differences are the result of someone removing something from God’s word; other times, it is the result of someone adding to God’s word. By allowing personal opinions to enter into the Gospel of Christ, it taints the word of God.
Galatians 1:6-10 (NKJV): I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
The apostle Paul frequently discusses this problem among the early churches. He talks about the fact that no one (and I mean no one) can change the word of God and still call it the word of God. It is something we should take comfort in, because we know exactly what God requires of us to be faithful. There is no pop quiz or gotcha questions to trip us up on the Last Day. All we have to do is remain faithful to the unchanging word of God.