Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!Psalm 133:1
Difference in doctrine is how disunity presents itself in Christians. “We have the same spirit of faith” The Apostle Paul said, “according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak” (2 Corinthians 4:13). It is pleasant rather for Christians to dwell in unity, “to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus…that [we] may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 14:5-6).
Differences in doctrine may present themselves in belief in present visions of prophecy, non-belief in the Pre-Tribulation rapture, even in difference in which “version” of the Word of God to use, which are all things that can be disproven by God’s Word. Disunity abounds in the Church when there are differences in belief, not differences of opinion. It is possible for the Pastor to make decisions regarding the direction of the Church, with the congregation obeying him as he is led by the Lord, even if they disagree with certain of his decisions. According as it is written, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation” (Hebrews 13:7).
But how pleasant and good it is for the congregation to dwell together in unity! Paul wrote that Christians must condescend to men of low estate and not to be wise in our own conceits (Romans 12:16). Will Christians believe different things? Perhaps. But should they? Really, why does it happen? Readers may have heard it said that as long as someone believes in Jesus Christ as the Savior who died for their sins, that he is the Son of God, that he rose again, that he was born of a virgin, and they have repented of their sins to Christ, that anything else they believe is fine because they are saved. Thank God for the Salvation of Jesus Christ! This man described is a saved man, yes, but salvation should not be an excuse to not dwell together in unity. Paul talked to the Corinthian Church about their divisions, and he talked to them in rebuke, and reproof. Paul did not say that their divisions were fine because of being Born-again. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). You’ll notice that it was precisely because of being Born-again that Paul said we must all be of the same mind, By the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. So how can this unity happen?
It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments.Psalm 133:2
The unity that Paul preached was from authority. The unity that the Apostle Peter preached was from authority. When the Apostle John preached against the preeminence of the disobedient Pastor Diotrephes, it was with authority. As the scripture says, that the ointment of unity starts at the top of the head, even Aaron’s head, and runs down through his beard, and his skirts. Aaron held a position of authority given to him by the LORD GOD, unity among the brethren starts with the authority of the brethren. As Paul wrote in Hebrews, the Pastor has authority over the congregation. If he does not use that rule to grow unity through exhortation, edification, rebuke, and reproof, what good is he as a Pastor?
The Pastor cannot force the Christians to believe in truth. They must believe it when they hear it, being led by the Spirit of God. However, it is the Pastor’s duty to give them the truth in order to strive towards unity in belief, that there be no concision, or division. “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained” (1 Timothy 4:6). The Pastor who neglects this duty will be likened unto the Pastors of the days of Jeremiah the Prophet, who judged them, saying “Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:2).
As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded blessing, even life for evermorePsalm 133:3
The unity of the brethren should pervade the Christians as the dew upon the Holy hill, for Christians do have one aspect in common no matter what else they believe: they are saved Children of the Most High God, and as Children we are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), so we must be led by the Spirit of God. If there is one difference in doctrine then the dew has not touched that brother, and the disunity is as aridity and dryness. Dew is gentle and refreshing, from heaven. If the brethren are not touched by the dew they are set at odds, and the only refreshment is false refreshment. A sprinkler on a timer, set to shut off after a time, for the pleasure of sin lasts only for a season.
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy (James 3:17).
Brethren, let us walk in God’s wisdom, and in his unity.
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