"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ."

Romans 15:5, NIV 


Do you think that Paul's statement here to the church is genuine, or just wishful thinking? Knowing what we do about the vast divisions within the church today - with it's seemingly countless denominations and endless disagreements as to doctrine - we might be tempted to say that it was just wishful thinking on Paul's part.


But we would be wrong, for no prophesy of Scripture ever came about by the prophet's own interpretation! We are told that men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (I Peter 1:20-21). That means that this command was from God, not from Paul.


So Paul's statement on unity is a command! Therefore, we must follow it!


Our problem today is that we have gotten so far away from the Bible that we follow the teachings of men instead of the teachings of Christ. Most people actually think that God set up denominations, but He did not! He set up His church with Christ at it's head. That is why the Scriptures refer to the church as the church of God, the body of Christ, the church of our Lord, or the church of Christ, for it is Their church, not ours.


That means you cannot become a member of my church, nor can I become a member of your church! God, we are told, adds us to Christ's church when we are obedient to the Gospel. That does away with the notion of your church or mine, or that you have to be a member of my church in order to be saved. You have either been added to the church by God, or you haven't. That's why we study - to make sure that we are in the body of Christ - the church!


And the church was always meant to have unity! But how? Does that mean that we are to compromise with the whims of men in order to get along? Nothing could be farther from the truth, because the unity that God desires is unity with the Spirit. That means if I am in agreement with what the Spirit teaches in the Bible, and you are in agreement with what the Spirit teaches in the Bible, then we will then have unity with each other - not as to our opinions, but as to our following the doctrine of Jesus.


Here is how it is put in Ephesians:


"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called to one hope when you were called - one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it." Ephesians 4:3-7, NIV 


Now, that's unity!


Today is Day 47 of the study through the New Testament, consisting of the last two chapters of Romans and the first chapter of I Corinthians. May God bless you richly as you seek His will through His Word!