Sunday, March 9, 2014
March 9: Being one
I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one—I in them and you in me—that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me. (John 17:20-23 NET)
Here Jesus prays for the unity of the believers of His time, and those that would believe in the future—which includes us. Unity, or being one, is an extremely crucial aspect of the kingdom of God; without it, the Church would fall apart. Father, Son, and Spirit are one, and all who have given their lives to God should also be one with Him and with each other, regardless of race, language, nationality, or background. Our faith in God, and our hunger to save souls should bind us together more than anything else in life. When the church is one with God, His power will flow through us and it will be impossible for us not to make a difference in the world.
Though unity is extremely important, there was no unity between Jesus and the Pharisees and Sadducees. The oneness that Jesus is speaking about is not the popular ecumenical movement that teaches that unity is more important that basic biblical doctrine. We cannot emphasize unity when it forces us to water down our beliefs and compromise on our faith. There are good churches in the world and there are bad ones, and we need to have the discernment to know the difference. We can have unity with strong, sincere Christians, but weak ones need our prayers and help, and even a healthy rebuke every once in a while.
How can we expect to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit when we are not at one with other Christians in our church, and with God? Being one in the Church is not an easy thing, it requires flexibility, forgiveness, overlooking small irritations, and humility. No group of people is perfect; wherever people are there are problems. But in the process of striving for unity we are being perfected.