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Monday, July 30, 2012

Promoting Unity

By Winfred Clark

    We hear of and see a number of things being promoted today. Some are good and some not so good. Some are scriptural and others are not. One, however, is really impressed as he reads the Galatian letter to see that Paul surely promoted unity among his brethren.
    I do not guess anybody would think he would promote unity on anything less than a Bible basis. But Paul wanted these brethren to know what real unity was. Take a look at this. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). So there is no question about the fact of unity. They occupy the position of unity in Christ and Paul wants to do all he can to protect the unity they have. How then, will Paul seek to promote unity? What will an apostle’s approach be to such a vital matter?
    For one thing, Paul would help them see the price of division. Listen as he says, “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another” (5:15). That sounds to me like Paul is saying they can self-destruct or destroy one another. Like two violent and vicious animals who cut and claw one another until both are disabled beyond recovery. Paul wants his brethren to see that their inward division was too high a price to pay.
    One sees this sort of thing in some divorces. Both parties go into court with the intent to destroy the character and good name of the other. When they emerge from the conflicts both are decimated. The children are left bewildered and confused and are caught between their hearts and heads. Respect for and confidence in the parents is shaken and shattered. That is the price one pays for division.
    But what could prevent such division? Well, in the first place, one could never allow himself or herself to act like an animal. Such conduct is manifest in the works of the flesh (5:19-21). But if we give way to the flesh it is obvious we are not led by the teaching of the Spirit. We will take the carnal approach and that means we are no different than the man of the world.
    However, we can solve the problem of the fellowship of the saints by promoting the fruit of the Spirit in the saints. Where this is found you have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self control (5:22-23).
    How would you like to be in a situation where only those kinds of folks were found? You say, I would love to be there. That is exactly what every congregation of the Lord’s people is supposed to be, no more and no less.
    Such would surely promote peace.

- Winfred Clark; via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere church of Christ, Belvedere, SC.  Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org


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