August 4 - The Basis of Christian Unity

The first epistle to the Corinthians was written to tackle the problem of disunity among the believers there in Corinth. In his greeting to the Christians there, Paul outlines the basis of Christian unity. This has to do with their basic identity in Christ Jesus and their subsequent behavior as a result of their relationship with Christ. Those who derive their identity in Christ should also relate to each other in a proper way.

 

As believers are the called ones, they have been called to be saints through the sanctification they have received in Christ. They have not been called out to live such lives each by themselves, but have been called to be saints together. As sanctified and set apart saints, they are to be a part of a body that includes others who also call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, I am not called by Christ to live by myself but be a part of a body and I have to live out my Christian life with other saints. If I cannot get along with other saints, there is something wrong with my basic identity as a Christian. We are not just called to follow Christ but to be a part of His body, the church.

 

To live with other saints is not an easy task for it requires divine help and grace from God. In Christ, God has given us spiritual grace in the form of spiritual gifts such as speech and knowledge. Such grace would sustain us to the end, enabling us to be guiltless and perfect in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. In any body of Christ when the spiritual gifts are exercised correctly with humility, the body would be built up and the individuals can become parts of a connected whole. As a result, our fellowship with Jesus our Lord would not be interrupted or impaired. Believers would then be living in harmony and unity, agreeing with one another and united in the same mind and judgment.

 

The problem with the Corinthian church was their disunity in how they exercised the spiritual gifts and their exhorting human leaders with different groups following certain leaders. The disagreements on how to practice their faith and the quarrels about which leader was greater ended in deep divisions within the body of Christ. So what Paul says in his greetings becomes the key to their unity: they have not choice but to get along with one another because that is part of their calling, to be a follower of Christ and be a part of the body of Christ.

 

You must have heard of the disharmony and quarreling within individual churches and among different churches. Have you taken a stand with your church or your group to condemn others? Pray for the unity of all believers and all churches, starting with your own church. You have no choice but to go for unity.

 

Ps 83:1-8     2 Chron 35:1-36:23     1 Cor 1:1-17     Prov 20:20-21

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