by Mike Ratliff
1 Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς ἐγὼ ὁ δέσμιος ἐν κυρίῳ ἀξίως περιπατῆσαι τῆς κλήσεως ἧς ἐκλήθητε, 2 μετὰ πάσης ταπεινοφροσύνης καὶ πραΰτητος, μετὰ μακροθυμίας, ἀνεχόμενοι ἀλλήλων ἐν ἀγάπῃ, 3 σπουδάζοντες τηρεῖν τὴν ἑνότητα τοῦ πνεύματος ἐν τῷ συνδέσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης· Ephesians 4:1-3 (NA28)
1 Therefore, I encourage you, I the prisoner in the Lord, to walk worthy of the calling by which you were called, 2 with all humility of mind and meekness, with long-suffering, forebearing one another in love, 3 being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)
Like never before in history, we hear much about unity today. However, much of what we hear is not based on a proper understanding of what true unity is. Unity, for example, is not compromise, or tolerance, when we throw out all doctrine so that everyone can “get along.” Neither is unity “brotherhood” or “camaraderie.” which we might find in being members of the same company, union, association, or even church denomination. Nor is unity uniformity, where everyone walks, talks, acts, thinks, and even dresses alike.
The true nature of unity is found in the Greek ἑνότης (henotēs). In Ephesians 4:3 we have the “unity” which translates the Greek noun ἑνότητα (henotēta) the accusative singular feminine case of ἑνότης which basically means “unanimity and agreement.” In Greek and Roman philosophy the unity of God and the world is demanded by educated reason. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, the unity of God is a confession derived from experience of God’s unique reality. The decisive advance in the New Testament, caused by God Himself, is the basing of the unity and uniqueness of God on the unique revelation through and in the one man Jesus Christ.
To simplify, we base unity either on reason, experience, or the person and work of Jesus Christ. Most of today’s so-called unity is based upon either experience (“We’ve all experience the same thing, so we’re in this thing together”), or reason (“To accomplish more, we’ll get rid of our doctrinal differences”). While those sound noble, they are unscriptural. Biblical unity is this: the unanimous agreement concerning the unique revelation of God through Jesus Christ. Unless we can agree on the person and work of Jesus Christ, there can be no unity. It is as simple as that. That alone must be our foundation for unity.
Soli Deo Gloria!