Perfectly United

Neil Girrard

Paul wrote, “But I urge and entreat you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in perfect harmony and full agreement in what you say, and that there be no dissensions or factions or divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in your common understanding and in your opinions and judgments. For it has been made clear to me, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions and wrangling and factions among you. I mean this, that one of you says, ‘I belong to Paul’s party,’ another, ‘And I belong to Apollos’ party,’ another ‘And I belong to Cephas’ party,’ another, ‘And I belong to Christ’s party.’”

If ever a passage should strike at modern “church” practices this is the one. It should lay bare, in its few, stark sentences, the error which we have entered into with abandon. But because we live in the age where lawlessness (nearly everyone doing what is right in their own eyes) abounds, most cannot see anything wrong with gathering together with only those who share our “theological” opinions and “Biblical” views on various issues.

To grasp the scope of this error, we must recognize that Christ is not divided into parties, factions, contentions, wrangling, divisions or dissensions – in modern “Christianity” we call them “denominations” and this supposedly makes them acceptable to both men and God. In fact, however, where this word “dissensions” (Greek, “dichostasia”) appears elsewhere in the New Testament, it tells us that we cannot inherit or participate in God’s kingdom, that we can only be carnal (that is, at enmity against God) and that those who practice it are to be separated away from. We also find that Peter prophesied that false teachers would secretly bring in destructive divisions. Denominationalism (even the so-called non-denominational denominations) is a sin that prevents us from being truly united with Christ.

Paul here calls on those who have genuine life in Christ to be in perfect harmony and in full agreement in what we say and to be perfectly united in our common understanding and in our opinions and judgments. Humanly speaking, this is impossible. But this is what clearly demonstrates that we belong to Christ and that Christ truly came from God – when we are one as Christ and God are one, everyone will clearly see, perceive and understand these foundational, fundamental, bedrock aspects of truly following Christ. The main reason the world sees little or nothing in “Christianity” to desire, emulate or imitate and is unable to differentiate between those who are true followers of Christ and those who are merely religious for their own benefit is because even the true followers and believers in Christ are not united in our words, understandings, opinions and judgments about spiritual matters. The fault is ours and the judgment will be ours as well.

Let he who has ears hear.

1 Corinthians 1:10-12
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