Four Keys to Biblical Unity
Nothing is quite as sweet or pleasant as a fellowship of believers who are able to live, work and worship together peacefully. David rejoiced in observing such a gathering when he stated in verse 1 of the 133rd Psalm “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
Sadly, many believers have never had the privilege of enjoying such a blessing. Too often, believers make personal desires and assumed rights a priority, disregarding clear Biblical teaching concerning proper attitudes when dealing with brethren.
The apostle Paul addressed this very issue when giving instruction to the church at Ephesus:
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Notice the words Paul used to describe the attitude of a believer when striving to maintain unity:
- Lowliness: “Lowliness” is humility, the opposite of pride. It is demonstrating an awareness of our “littleness.”
- Meekness: “Meekness” is gentleness or kindness. It is never appropriate to attack or demean a fellow believer, no matter how serious the disagreement.
- Longsuffering: A Christian should always be “longsuffering” toward fellow believers, displaying the same kind of patience we receive from God.
- Forbearance: Finally, Paul insists that we are to be “forbearing one another in love.” The connotation is that of support: we are to sustain one another with an attitude of love.
The ultimate goal is to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Notice that Paul indicates that this unity is a product of the work “of the Spirit” in the heart and life of the believer. Is it an accident that all of the character traits Paul listed as requirements for unity are also components of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22? Not at all!
Here is the essential truth:
There can be no unity outside of the work of God’s Spirit.
It comes only when we are willing to forget self and personal desires, allowing the Spirit of God to make us a blessing to others.