Jesus knew His teachings would bring division between those who follow Him and those who do not, not unity. Consider this passage from Matthew 10: 32 – 39:
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Christians deny their Lord when they behave contrary to His life and teachings. Jesus’ teachings often bring separation between family members and friends because Christianity is exclusive of other religions and even of worldly affections. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life,” not “a way, a truth and a life.” In this way, Christianity is an exclusive religion that separates believers from loyalty to all other gods. Of course, Christ’s call to humanity is all-inclusive, no one is left out, but those who come into Christ’s fold can serve no other Master but Him.
Jesus Called for Separation
The Gospel is a call to separate from Satan’s kingdom and come into God’s kingdom, to separate from sin to live a new life in Christ. Anyone who is not willing to leave all and follow Christ is not worthy of Him, so said Jesus. So obviously, unity must be wholly on God’s terms. Separation of itself is not sinful. Jesus never taught that division was sin, as we so often hear today.
Paul also wrote about the need for separation. In 2 Corinthians 6: 14, 15, he wrote:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? (2 Corinthians 6: 14, 15).
Christ’s followers cannot be in unity with unbelievers or with those who teach false, unBiblical doctrines.
Satan’s Call: Unity
Consider this: The blasphemous antichrist power is a unifying power. Satan is satisfied as long as he is turning worshipers from serving Christ; how he gathers them is irrelevant. He doesn’t care whether that is accomplished through pagan idol worship or through secularism or through apostate Christianity. In fact, it suits his purposes just as well if they all join together. As long as he can turn worshipers aside from worshiping God as the sole Authority in a person’s life, Satan is satisfied.
Revelation 13: 6 and 7 says, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Here is unity under a corrupt and disobedient religious power that will not submit to God’s authority.
There are those who are pushing toward external “Christian unity” against the principle of obedience to the truth. On January 17, 2017, the Anglican archbishops stated,
“Remembering the Reformation should also lead us to repent of our part in perpetuating divisions. Such repentance needs to be linked to action aimed at reaching out to other churches and strengthening relationships with them.”
Our focus should be on strengthening our relationship with Christ. He will unite all who are obedient to Him under His banner. As Christians, we should bring every teaching under the scrutiny of the Bible. If doctrines are not supported Biblically, they are corrupt. Those who conform their lives to Christ’s teachings and life will be united in His Spirit. Then there will be “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” but it will be the work of God, not the work of humanity. God forces no one and He rejects forced worship. No one should force the will of another. Every Christian should submit individually to the will of God. Only then will unity in Christ be the sure result.