I’m going to assume that if you are taking the trouble to read this devotional, you are someone who takes the Bible seriously. Good for you! I’d like to think I do to.
If that is indeed the case, I think it is possible—perhaps even highly likely—that these are going to be some very difficult verses for you. They are for me.
I write that because I think these are some of the hardest verses of all for people who seek to be faithful to what the Bible teaches. It has been our tendency to judge, separate, and divide. Current events as well as world history bear this out in a way that seems inarguable to me.
These verses, however, teach that it is God’s great dream for his people that they might become one new humanity rather than exist as groups that are hostile to one another.
This weekend we will celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. He did not just preach a message of racial reconciliation. He preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He did not just preach his own dream for one humanity, he preached Jesus’ dream. And his message was no more popular in our day than it was for Jesus in his day. People—even good Christian people, perhaps ESPECIALLY good Christian people—would rather fight and divide than love and be reconciled.
Dear and beloved friends, please forgive me if I seem harsh and overbearing, but we cannot afford to continue to fail in this. To be one is the fulfillment of Jesus’ great prayer for us in John 17. It is the fulfillment of our mission as the Church as Paul lays it out so plainly for us in these verses.
We are called to be one in Christ! Sometimes the cost to us personally seems so high, especially when we are so certain we are right and so well justified in our actions… But I would suggest that the cost of our divisions to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is even higher, and that they cannot fail to break the heart of all who would seek to faithfully follow him.