My wife and I share my hard-covered Bible at church. Recently, I wanted to sit a little closer, but one side of the Bible had fallen down between us, chocking my movement. So I lifted it up, scooted over and rested the side that had fallen on her knee.
Believe it or not, the Bible often drives a wedge between people. Sometimes that’s appropriate, but most times, it’s not and it’s not the Bible’s fault.
God’s word will accomplish his purpose (Isaiah 55: 10, 11). Jesus, the incarnate word, came to Earth to bring God’s message of grace and truth to remove the dividing wall so a fallen humankind could be lifted back up into a right relationship with our Father and other family members (John 1: 1-5, 17; 2 Corinthians 5: 18-21; Ephesians 2: 11-22). But Jesus said he brought a sword that would also cause estrangement (Matthew 10: 34-38). The Bible calls itself that sword (Ephesians 6: 17; Hebrews 4: 12).
God’s word divides when individuals realize they’re under judgment of that word and don’t like it (John 12: 47-50). They separate themselves from God’s love, grace, and truth as those in the darkness who refuse to come into the light and take up their cross following Christ (John 3: 16-21; Romans 6: 3-7; Galatians 2: 20, 21; 5; 24, 25; 3: 26-4: 7). That’s not God’s preferred outcome, but because he’s given us free choice, he recognizes it as the most likely outcome (2 Peter 3: 9; Matthew 7: 13, 14; Romans 1: 18-32, notice verse 28, which states that they chose to not retain knowledge of God; see also 2 Thessalonians 2: 9-11).
God’s preferred outcome is that the Bible would bring people together as they’re reconciled to him, which is what you previously read in Ephesians 2: 11-22 (1 Corinthians 1: 10-13; 12: 12, 13). There is actually only one body (church, family), one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God (Ephesians 4: 3-6). Thus, there should be no denominational separations and those who don’t agree with scripture (the word, Jesus) on how the Lord adds to his body are a cause of stumbling around in darkness (Ephesians 1: 22, 23; Matthew 16: 13-19; 28: 18-20; Acts 2: 36-47; Galatians 1: 6-9).
Jesus prayed against denominational confusion so that those struggling to come out of darkness might recognize the truth that unites (John 17: 20-23). Consequently, the inspired New Testament writers also wrote against incorrect teaching that causes people to not gain or retain a true knowledge of God that leads to reconciliation (1 Timothy 4: 1; Titus 1; 10, 11; 3: 9-11; 2 Peter 2: 1, 2; 1 John 4: 1; Jude 3, 4).
Are you working toward Christian unity based on truth? As Jesus mentioned in his prayer, Christian unity is only achieved through our reconciliation to him, which only happens as we are sanctified by the truth (John 17: 17).
Let’s agree with the truth and be united in Christ.
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org