Unity is quite an important idea in the New Testament. In the Gospel of John, Jesus prays for unity. We read, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 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: 20-23 ESV) Not only is it important but unity is a good thing. None would argue against it. No one would say, “Let’s cause division in the church.” So why is it that there are so many different schools of thought for those who say they believe in God? We have Mormons, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christians, and more. The ones listed are just the well-known ones.
In 1 Corinthians 1:10 the Apostle Paul appeals to the church that “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that [they] all agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among [them] and that [they] may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” So it’s true that we don’t want to be divided. He also tells us in what we are to be united in: mind and thought. We are to be united in our beliefs, in our faith.
How unfortunate is it that unity in our day often comes at the cost of our convictions and our theology! And it is quite easy to appear united. All we have to do is compromise. We have to comprise our belief in being saved through faith alone. We have to compromise our doctrine of Christ’s humanity as well as divinity. The danger lies in our end motive. When our goal becomes unity, when we meet together for the sake of unity, more often than not, that “unity” is short and temporary. It can hardly even be called unity. But unity that comes about because of a pursuit of righteousness and truth. That is a sweet thing. A good and often long lasting thing to have.
Easy though it is to have false unity, true unity is not a difficult thing to attain. Our gracious God in Heaven gives us the means. “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Ephesians 4:11-14 ESV)
If we desire for unity, it must be the right kind of unity. If truth and sound doctrine are at stake, we must be willing to even reject unity. The end goal must be truth. It is only through the process of being truth seekers can we be truly united.