The 2000 Presidential election was one of the most contentious in American history. George Bush narrowly edged out the incumbent Vice-President, Al Gore, by the smallest of margins. In fact, the race was simply too close to call on election night and was eventually decided by the US Supreme Court in a 5 to 4 decision. Closer to home, it’s been amazing to me how even local elections all over the nation are often decided by a very few votes.
I must admit that I have wondered, “How do you do that?” How do you divide a population perfectly down the middle? Yet, this seems to happen too often to be a coincidence, be it a local election where less than one thousand votes are cast, or in the case of the Presidential election where millions vote. I have come to the conclusion that you don’t naturally accomplish this. It takes supernatural intervention. I think it has become clear; we are dealing with a spiritual force at work dividing our people.
The spirit of division is the spirit of Anti-Christ. Division dominates today’s world climate. In fact, I believe that a spirit of division is the principle instrument that Satan is using to attempt to silence the voice of the church in the earth and to bring confusion among the people groups of the Earth leading to the chaos we see everyday in the news.
This division takes on many forms and expressions, but is found across religious boundaries as well as ethnic, political and geographical. In the Muslim world it is Shia verses Sunni; in the Jewish world it is orthodox verses secular. In the Christian world it is division over doctrine and Scriptural interpretations that create a plethora of denominations.
On the political front it is democrat verses republican, and liberal verses conservative. And these divisions are not just American, they are worldwide. Socially it is expressed in issues like sexual orientation, income equality, and social justice. Each of these issues becomes points of contention and consequently relational cracks causing social division among people.
Bottom line? Men add and subtract. Satan divides. God multiplies.
Spiritual unity, on the other hand, is a work of the Spirit of God and is the cure for division. And in truth, the purpose of the cross was, at least in part, to bring unity to all that Satan had divided by sin. The unity found in Christ is not a unity that demands uniformity. We each are a unique blend of who we are and where we are from. And God loves us and accepts us where we are.
The unity I speak of is a spiritually transcendent unity that allows us to find peace beyond our ethnic differences and cultural customs. The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the great common denominator and reference point to all of humanity. Paul considered this the message that he was sent by God to deliver. The theme of unity is found over and over again throughout his writings. In Galatians Paul declares that “in Christ” there is neither Jew nor gentile (Greek), bond nor free, male or female, but we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28). This was an alarming message considering his personal background as a Pharisee of the Jews and the deeply divided social context of his writing. The Greco-Roman world was as diverse as any that had ever existed; yet racial and political tensions were still a common problem. So was also the case in all of Laodicea and certainly Ephesus.
In Ephesians we see Paul again driving the message of unity home again and again. Paul wonderfully and skillfully teaches several spiritual truths in the book of Ephesians regarding unity while writing to one of the most diverse cities and churches in the entire Greco-Roman world.
Unity seems to be of paramount importance to God and the success of the Kingdom of God. This is the mystery of the Gospel that Paul has been commissioned by the resurrected Lord Himself to preach (Ephesians 1:7-11). The message included these truths:
All humanity from every race and tongue has been made acceptable to God through faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross (Ephesians 2:11-13).
In Christ, the walls of separation and division that have developed between God and Man, and Man and Man have been torn down through the cross.
Before the eyes of God, all who believe are formed into one new man in the earth. There is no division. All believers are viewed as the Body of Christ before the eyes of God and without division in the spirit (Ephesians 2:14-22).
This unity or “oneness” in Christ is to testify to the fact that the division and its destruction caused by the fall has been resolved, and in Christ perfect unity and harmony has been achieved (Ephesians 2:8-11).
That the “worthy calling” mentioned in chapter four is a walk of unity in the Body and not fleshly perfection. And it is a unity that transcends political, economic or cultural division (Ephesians 4:1-3).
That all God’s children are heirs together of the promises of God that were revealed to the Patriarch Abraham (Ephesians 3:5-6).
That this Body of Christ in the earth is the living witness of the truth and power of God and the vehicle through which God desires to effectively bring his will to pass in the earth (Ephesians 3:8-11).
The spiritual realities pose a question. If unity is so important to God that all of redemption has at its core the purpose of reunification for that which was divided by sin, then how important is it today? And how destructive is disunity if God would sacrifice His only Son to repair the damage that it has caused? Unity, this is at the heart of God’s plan for man. When I walk in unity, I am cooperating with God and walking in his will!