UNITY IN CHRIST
Having seen that God is presently preparing a special group of people,
the Church, to rule with His Son Jesus throughout eternity, let us now
consider what the Church should be like.
In John Chapter 17 Jesus prayed 4 times that "we would be one even as He
and the Father were one". This was His earnest desire for His disciples.
Note: When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead he said,
"I thank you Father that you always hear me" (John 11:41). Therefore when
Jesus prayed for unity within the Body His Father granted it.
Unity within the Body has one basis, "we are one even as Jesus and His
Father are one" (John 17:11).
UNITY IN THE GOD HEAD
The unity within the God head is manifest in their "inseparability". Jesus
said that "if you have seen me you have seen my Father" (John 14:9). If
we known the Spirit we known both the Lord and His Father. They are inseparable.
Within the God head what happens to one happens to all. If one is glorified
all are glorified. They have all things in common (John 17:10). There is
UNITY WITHIN THE BODY
This "inseparability" is in the Body also. There is no longer male or female,
slave or free, old or young, "but we are one in Christ" (Galatians 3:28).
We are inseparably joined to one another.
We have all things in common. What happens to one member of the
body happens to all. If one member of the body is disgraced the whole Body
is disgraced. If one member of the Body suffers the whole Body suffers.
If one member of the Body is honoured the whole Body is honoured (1 Corinthians
The results of unity are:
We are "inseparably" joined to Christ. Everything that is His is ours and
everything that is ours is His. We have all things in common with Him.
It is for this reason that we are "born again" into the "Divine Nature".
It is for this reason that we have been "anointed" by the Holy Spirit.
It is for this reason that we are in the "Body of Christ". So that "God
may reveal His Son in us" (Galatians 1:16).
We have become the children of God. As it is written "The Spirit Himself
bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. And if children
then heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." (Romans 8:16-17). And yet
again "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that
we should be called the children of God" (1 John 3:1).
We have His life within us. "Because He lives we live also" (John 14:19).
In fact we have become a source of life because He is a source of life.
As it is written "Out of our bowls shall come rivers of living water" (John
We have bear the righteousness of Jesus. "There is therefore no condemnation
to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
We are holy unto the Lord. "You also, as living stones, are being built
up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood" (1 Peter 2:5).
We have been anointed along with Jesus. "The anointing you have received
from Him abides in you" (1 John 2:27).
We have the "mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:9-12). Because Jesus is "in
us" He makes His will known to us. We are not ignorant of the things of
God for "we have an anointing which teaches us all things" (1 John 2:27).
We are not lacking in any spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 1:7). Because we
are the Body of Christ, His bones and His flesh (Ephesians 5:30), every
thing He could do His Body can do (John 14:12).
We are part of the Christ. "We are in Him and He is in us" (John 17:11).
It is through "the sons of God" that God will restore creation. We have
the enormous privilege of working with Jesus as we restore all things to
perfection in the Ages to come.
Jesus bears our weaknesses and suffering for us. It is interesting to note
that when Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus He said "I am
Jesus whom you are persecuting" (Acts 9:5). As far as the scriptures are
concerned, we have no evidence that Paul ever met Jesus in the flesh, but
we know that Paul persecuted the Church. Here Jesus is identifying
Himself to be joined to the Church. He did not say, "I am Jesus and you
are persecuting My Church", He said "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting".
The torment which was falling on the members of His Body was also falling
on Himself. As it is written "If one part of the Body suffers, all members
suffer with it. If one member is honored all members are honored with it"
(1 Corinthians 12:26).
Now we see Jesus seated at the right hand of God. We therefore, who are
His Body are seated with Him in the heavenly places. We have access to
the Father through Him.
By faith we know that because God has raised Jesus up and placed Him above
all creation that we, who are parts of His Body shall be raised up and
shall reign with Him also (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; Romans 8:17).
We are "inseparably" joined to each other. Everything that is mine is yours
and everything that is yours is mine (Acts 4:32). What you do affects me
and what I do affects you (1 Corinthians 12:26). We are no longer independent
from each other. We have become a part of a Body, a unified whole, which
is far superior to the sum of all the parts separately. If only we could
see the truth of this. We all have a part to play and no one is "dispensable"
(1 Corinthians 12:14-16). We desperately need one another. No part of the
Body can function independently from the rest. If we cut off our hand the
hand will die, but the Body too will suffer much pain and handicap. It
is the same with the Body of Christ. If one part is cut off, or cuts itself
off from the rest, it will die and the Body will suffer.
Love: Love is the "result" of unity, not the "cause" of unity.
Either we come to terms with our unity and learn to love one another as
Christ loves us (John 13:34-35). Or we tear ourselves apart as we try to
separate ourselves from the Body. We can not avoid our unity.
Fellowship: Fellowship is a "result" of unity also. The Greek
word for fellowship is "Koinonia" which literally translates as "to have
in common". We already have all things in common, therefore we have "fellowship".
To "have in common" is very different to "sharing". To "share" means that
I have it one moment and you have it next. To "have in common" means we
all have it always. This is exemplified by the Holy Spirit himself. We
do not perceive a time when we do not have the Spirit "personally", yet
we know He is with all other Christians "always". This is the difference
between "having in common" and "sharing".
Holiness is also a result of our unity with Christ. To be
joined to Christ means that we take Christ into every situation with us
(1 Corinthians 6:15-17). Would Christ go with us into a brothel ? Would
He go with us into a sinful situation ? No. The Spirit convicts us of sin
and warns us when we stray from the truth (John 16:8-11). We can ignore
this prompting or we can heed it. Holiness comes when we heed the warnings.
Evangelism: Evangelism is a result of us being inseparably
joined to Christ. It is God's will that His "manifold wisdom be made
known through the Church" (Ephesians 3:10). This could only be so if we
were "indistinguishable" from Christ Himself, because Jesus is the "manifold
wisdom of God". True evangelism is "revealing the Lord" not "talking
about" Him. "If you have seen us you have seen the Lord who sent us" (John
14:5), "for we are members of His Body, of His flesh and of His bones"
When the Body is functioning properly as a unified whole, with Jesus
as the true Head and each part contributing its portion, we see something
which is even greater than Jesus alone in the world. We see the world wide
Body of Christ expressing the fullness of the God Head "Bodily", because
in Him was the fullness of the God Head (Collossians 2:9), and He is in
us and we are in Him (John 15:1-4). So the word of Jesus is fulfilled perfectly
"He who believes in Me the works that I do he shall do also and greater
works than these, because I go to the Father "(John 14:12).
The problem within the Body is not lack of unity (we are already joined
inseparably to each other through the Spirit) but "independence" (each
member trying to be separated from the other) (1 Corinthians 1:12-13).
In Christ we are inseparably joined to Him and to each other. There is
no such thing as a Christian "singular" we are the Body of Christ "plural".
When we come to grips with this great principle we will be set free to
move in areas we have never known possible before.