For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility. Ephesians 2:14
It’s an alluring prospect, isn’t it? The eternal longing God set within each of our hearts yearns for it. Yet hatred and hostility rise in our midst, driven by fear and deception.
The recent presidential election has brought out the worst in us.
We watch in horror as hate prevails in this nation. Without seeking to understand another point of view, fellow citizens hurl insults at one another like daggers, hoping to draw blood.
Our forefathers gathered to form a more perfect union. What we have now is anything but.
Beloved, peace will never come through convincing arguments and carefully framed rhetoric. Peace comes through Jesus.
Jesus suffered the breaking of His own flesh in order to destroy the divisive nature of ours.
Yet somehow the church is missing the message, although it remains the very heart of the gospel. The cross conquered sin, overcoming the destructive power of the flesh. Faith in Jesus provides believers with a new heart, and a new Spirit to guide them.
Christians are supposed to live changed and unified. But most of us look remarkably like the unsaved.
Our nation stands divided, dear one. Even worse, so does the church. Christians all over this nation are taking sides. Yet we continue to choose the wrong side. We forget that we’re supposed to be on God’s side.
“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin.” Isaiah 30:1
You and I need to carefully consider this question, beloved. With whom have we made our alliance? You see, we can’t align with God’s Spirit when we fight one another. Jesus’ own words defy our discord.
“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:22-23
Beloved, Jesus imparted His glory to us so that we could become perfectly one. So why aren’t we? Why aren’t love and unity evident among God’s people?
According to Jesus, love and unity among the body of Christ should prove that He was exactly who He claimed to be.
Beloved, the division and disunity so prevalent within the church is of far greater concern than the rantings of the lost in our nation. Dissension reveals enemy strongholds that must be cast out. Consider scripture’s warning.
As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 3:10-11
Beloved, love and unity don’t just describe God; they define Him. Where His presence manifests, those qualities will be evident. So will the other fruit of His Spirit… joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.
Hatred and division reveal God’s absence, dear one. How it must wound God’s heart that His people push Him out of His own church, aligning themselves instead with the divisive spirits governing the flesh.
“Ah, stubborn children, … who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit…” Isaiah 30:1
As we watch our nation battle with division and hatred, we the church must take an honest look at ourselves. If we alone carry His Spirit within us, we alone bear the responsibility for His absence. We ourselves have quenched His Spirit in our land and blocked His movement.
Forgive us, Father.
The church must unite, dear one, unite with Christ and with each other. Disunity reveals the absence of His Spirit. We must learn to discern the false from the True.
But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. Jude 1:17-23
Only the people of God hold any real power to bring unity because we alone carry His Spirit. And that Spirit reveals His nature when we yield to Him.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4
Beloved, Jesus suffered to destroy hostility, greed, selfishness, and hatred. Let’s submit to our Lord and let love prevail.