Unity is a vague concept that every group or organization aspires to. From school spirit to patriotism to family reunions, we desire unity within our communities. But the church is not a social club and her unity is not rooted in common cause or common enemy. The church is eternally united in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We find our identity, peace and purpose there in the person and work of Christ and the nature and relationship within the Godhead.
Unity in the church and in Christ Jesus has been a struggle from the time the church came into being. In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul encourages the church toward the noble goal of unity by first grounding them in the deep truths and doctrine of the gospel in Ephesians 1-3. Then in Ephesians 4:1-6, he turns a corner toward application.
After all of Paul’s beautiful and inspiring meditations on who we are in Christ, his very first application of that rich doctrine seems rather ordinary. He simply instructs the church to walk out the gospel together. The depth of the doctrine of our union with Christ leads directly to our unity in the church. The doctrine leads to the practice and the practice cannot be divorced from the doctrine. The hard work of unity in the church can only come through the powerful work of the Spirit, the Son and the Father. May God’s word encourage us as we labor together to maintain our God-given unity.