All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.Ephesians 1:3 (NLT)
Unity has become a buzzword in the Seventh-day Adventist church. It has been used countless times, by all sides of the current issues the worldwide church faces. Frankly, I am beginning to tune out whenever someone mentions the word – which is unfair, because the word unity didn’t do anything to deserve the bad reputation that it is getting. In fact, I was at a meeting not to long ago when this fabulous sentiment was stated from the stage, “When did we weaponize the word unity?” (paraphrase)
Indeed, the unfortunate reality is that it seems it has been easy for the church to fragment. There are people unified in that we need to teach only the law! There are others unified that we need to forget about the law and only teach grace. There are those that are unified in their belief that vegans will rule the world, and the meat eaters are unified in their belief that they won’t. There are those that are unified in their belief that women cannot attain the highest level of ministerial credential, ordination. Of course, there are those that are unified in their belief that they should. In short, we have pockets, or cliques, in our global and local churches that are unified against others who hold contrary beliefs or opinions.
Here’s the trick. When did unity become about our ideas? Unity isn’t about our opinions, intellect, or gut feeling. As our verse today states very clearly, in fact, unity has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with Jesus Christ. When we spend resources on anything other than the cause of Christ, we are not unified. We are behaving like Jr. high students forming cliques of like-minded people who make us feel good in our opinions.
So, let me introduce a better word than unity for us to consider – reconciled. Reconciled means that we admit we’ve gone the wrong directions, and we make every effort to return to where we should have been all along. Because where we need to be is in-sync with Christ, then let us be reconciled to Him. Only then will we have true unity. Only then will His church be blessed beyond measure. Only then will we complete our work – spreading the Gospel message – so that we may literally be united again with Jesus in Heaven.