‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!’ (Psalm 133:1)
It is the desire of our Lord Jesus that we who believe and trust Him are united as one in Him, along with His Father (John 17:21) and the Holy Spirit. He says to those who keep His word, He and His Father will come and make Their home with them (John 14:23). He also gives them the glory His Father gave Him (John 17:22). Having been made perfect in one, the world seeing this will know that the Father sent the Son, and that He loves believers as He loves His Son (John 17:23).
Unity in Christ is absolutely fundamental to the Christian faith. Satan, knowing this, does all he can to frustrate unity; he sows the seeds of disunity (Mark 4:15; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 2:12-17). Where he can bring discord he does, and we see it in the proliferation of many denominations with their creeds and *confessions of faith that do not in whole accord with the Scriptures.
When the Church was first born, at Pentecost (Acts 2), satan was completely frustrated because the Holy Spirit brought members together in unity (Acts 2:41-47). Christ had risen from the dead (Mark 16:6; Romans 8:32-35). Satan had no hold on Him (Matthew 12:28-30).
The early church (ecclesia, i.e., the assembly) were totally united in Christ, being baptised by ‘one Spirit’ into ‘one body’ (1 Corinthians 12:13).’ Luke records in the Acts of the Apostles: ‘Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things possessed was his own, but they had all things in common (Acts 4:32).’ and, ‘So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:46, 47).’
As years went by, and the Church spread throughout the known world by the preaching of Paul, Barnabas (Acts 13:44-49), Timothy and others through word of mouth (Romans 10:17), worldliness, jealousies and ambitions, brought divisions. We read in 1 Corinthians 1:9-11 ‘God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment.’
Later Paul wrote,‘ For we, though many, are one bread and one body, for we all partake of that one bread (1 Corinthians 10:17).’ – And of course, that, ‘one bread’ is Jesus (John 6:35, 48).
When writing to the Ephesian church he said they were, ‘fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,’ and they were ‘being fitted together’…’into a holy temple in the Lord’ …. ‘for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).’
In Ephesians 4:4-6 he said, ‘There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.’ Paul wanted the Ephesians to ‘come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (v 13).’
When born again members of Christ’s body exercise their faith they are united in Him; and when they are united in Him they are united in the Father and the Holy Spirit (John 17:9-11, 20-23).
*The Baptist Affirmation of Faith 1966