“Let there be no divisions among you” echoes hauntingly in my mind every time I see churches divided by denomination. Methodist, Baptist, 7th day Adventist, Pentecostal, and other types of churches abound. The list is quite long.
The identity that one assumes as a Christian is that of new discipleship with Christ. To be true disciples, we must believe that Jesus is the son of God, that He died for the sins of the world, He rose from the dead, and He will return for those who love Him back. We must also understand that He and the Father are one, that He is the image of the invisible God according to Colossians 1:15, and that He is God according to John 1:1. Last but certainly not least, we must accept Him as our personal LORD and Savior. No one can make that choice for us.
With that said, there is a division among churches which grieves the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus in human flesh was the human identity that God assumed when He embarked on His mission to save humankind. He was the body of God and as such, He walked in obedience to the Father.
After Christ accomplished His divine mission through His death and resurrection, He ascended to the Heavens to repossess His former glory as God. It left a void that He immediately filled, by sending the Holy Spirit, which empowers us and uplifts us. In this way, we have become the body of Christ. Consider this for a moment, because it is POWERFUL! Jesus was the body of God and we are now the body of Christ. Jesus walked in perfect obedience to “the Father” (His perfect righteousness as God). Now, we must walk in obedience to Christ who being called Immanuel (God with us), the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, and such titles that give away His true identity, showed us how to follow in His ways. Though we stumble, He paved the perfect illuminated path for us.
Unfortunately, we have divided ourselves and we can try to justify it as much as we want. We can say that God wants us to be set apart, and while that is true, He is the only one qualified to establish boundaries and set people apart. Often when people separate themselves based on something that God did not ordain, they do it wrong! Remember segregation? Do you see all of the negative effects that racism has had, or how “class” causes rifts between people? Do you see how women and men are at odds because of unequal pay for equal work? We often set ourselves apart in flawed ways.
The Body of Christ is not supposed to be divided. We should all believe in the Pentecost. We all should understand that faith and commitment to spiritual growth are individual decisions and that the day of the week that you go to church is not as important as whether or not you have a living relationship with God through Christ. Each of us should also acknowledge the deity of Jesus because the whole Bible points to Him. Biblical genealogies stopped once Jesus was born for that reason.
The Gospels are about Christ. The following chapters from the book of Acts onward are about the holy spirit which came down after Christ to prepare us for His return. So why do we continue to separate ourselves? Have we not realized that we have spiritually dismembered the body? Surely the Holy spirit (the Spirit of all spirits) is grieved because the rift is more than just physical. Every physical action has a spiritual component.
Body of Christ, it is high time we put aside the divisions that stifle our ability to win souls for the Kingdom. If we fail to do so, the Enemy will win more battles. We know the war of our souls has already been won. There is only one outcome; God triumphs. Nevertheless, the total number of casualties can be reduced if we put aside the differences and reach out to more people with the same message of love, forgiveness, and salvation. Christ died for our sins. He freed us from old sacrificial laws because works could not save us. This does not mean that we shouldn’t work out our salvation daily. It simply means that our works alone do not determine our future with Him.
Faith in Him, relationship with Him, and a pursuit of Him is what should unite us unto one body. Christ came with the same simple message for all. Some, however, have overthought this message. Those who follow the Lord occasionally stumble, but perseverance keeps His followers on the right path and followers of Christ do not need to be hammered with reminders of which faction they joined, what side they’ve taken. There should only be one side if you’re with Christ and another for those who have chosen darkness. We should all believe in the Pentecost. We should all believe that God wants our acceptance of Him to be voluntary, that babies do not need baptism…etc. We should all believe that we have not earned salvation. Therefore, the only reminder we need is that we belong to the Body of Christ.
Dear dismembered church. I wish we would do away with the denominations, but that would mean rebranding for a lot of us. I get it. It’s tough. However, we’re not on a mission to get more people in our churches with watered down, luke warm, and different messages from what Christ taught. There’s one side and there’s another. Those are the boundaries God established. We must be bold and united in our ministry and stick to His teachings.