Devotional - 2000-07-10 - Unity in the Faith
1 Corinthians 12:25,26, "that there should be no division in the body, but the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it."
Starting Tuesday I would like to begin the traditional question series that I have done for the last two summers. If you are new to this, basically you can ask me any question you wish. It helps to keep it on a devotional level and I will usually pick a question that I can turn into a devotional in some way. However, any question is a fair question. In the past the questions have covered anything from dry times in personal devotions, questions regarding why God allowed this or that to happen in our lives, questions of a theological nature that someone finds confusing. Really anything. For the rest of the summer I will pick some of the questions I receive and use the Tuesday devotional to try to answer the ones I get. So feel free to submit and I will do what I can with them.
Last week I took a week of vacation and went to a family camp at a Christian camp I used to work for. (Lakeside Christian Camp in Pittsfield Mass. A wonderful camp) I really wasn't going for the camp, really, but rather was meeting much of my family there to see each other and spend time together. We had a great time together and really enjoyed seeing each other.
In many respects I felt a little excluded from various aspects of the family camp experience. Lakeside is the camp of the Baptist General Conference (BGC) and no one in my family is Baptist. For some reason, for the first time, I felt that there was division of sorts between us and them. I found this to be something very sad. It was made fairly clear to me, at one point, that I really was out of place there.
But I was not out of place. I was with the people of God and that is where I and my family belong. We worshipped together, prayed together, listened to speakers together, and fellowshipped together. When the people of God meet theological differences can and should be swallowed up in the gospel and fellowship should increase. It really doesn't matter what denomination I or anyone belongs to if Christ is our hope and treasure.
Differences can and should be acknowledged. But a fellow brother or sister in Christ is just that, a brother or sister. And they are still a brother or sister when differences exist. The stumbling block is Christ. The gospel is the issue that should divide. It divides Christians and non-Christians. But those who own the gospel of salvation as there only hope should not be divided over non-gospel issues.
Our goal should be to live as the believers lived in Acts 2:42-47, in unity. It is a high goal and one that we may strive for and yet never attain, but it is a goal worthy of striving for. And in verse 47 of Acts 2, we see the result of such unity and fellowship, "And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved." May God visit us with such a season of grace also.
"Labor mightily for a healing spirit. Away with all discriminating names whatever that may hinder the applying of balm to heal your wounds...Discord and division become no Christian. For wolves to worry lambs is no wonder, but for one lamb to worry another, this is unnatural and monstrous." Thomas Brooks
Soli Deo Gloria,