One of my very favorite passages of scripture is Psalms 133. I won’t take the space here to quote the entire chapter of David’s Song of Ascents, but, for this post, I will simply refer to the first line of the sacred verse:
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
The unity alluded to in the Psalm apparently exists, is in plain sight so that all may see it and is truly something to behold; to pay attention to and admire in seeing how blessed and pleasant a thing it is.
Many scholars believe that this Psalm was composed by David upon the happy occasion of the ending of conflict between the House of Saul and the House of David. Getting beyond the division and discord, both the king and people were now aware of the great blessing of reconciliation and unity. Regardless of the occasion for the Psalm being authored, the point remains that such unity existed and it was truly something to behold, was a powerful blessings in the Nation of God’s People and served as a tremendous testimony.
My affinity for the Psalm is that I recognize the writing to be a Messianic prophecy which has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. I have seen glimpses of its reality and the power that such unity affords when present in the midst of brothers. My desire is to see the fullness of such unity, not only in glimpses and isolated instances in the Body of Christ, but, as David said, that we may come to dwell in such a place. I believe it is Father’s intention that His People enter into that Unity while here on the earth as a testimony to His Glory and Nature.
With that said, I have been privy to boundless prophetic writings, emails, blog posts, etc. regarding the New Year of 2015. Without fail, the content of the messages are primarily regarding Unity in the Body of Christ or at least mention Unity as a supporting factor.
While the idea of Unity being bandied about and brought to the forefront is definitely encouraging, there is also included in the communications some type of qualification regarding how the Unity is going to occur or how the Church will be brought into Unity. Things, such as, organizational frameworks, a “new anointing” for Unity, a rise of a special breed of believer, a special time or season for Unity and/or programs for existing (denominational) organizations to “come together” seem to be the main proposed vehicles creating the much desired and anticipated Unity.
Now, please allow me to inject here, I appreciate, honor and respect the messages that have been sent to me and the messengers that sent them to me. What I am about to express is not a judgment regarding any particular message/messenger. On this blog, I am simply offering my perspective regarding topics and my experiences on this journey I am on. I understand that believers may be in different places on certain matters and my intention is only to provide food for thought; not to force feed anybody.
Allow me to start with a statement:
Unity is NOT to be manufactured by fleshly techniques. Unity EXISTS because of the work of Jesus Christ and is to be ENTERED into through death to the operation of the flesh (even religious flesh) and learning to live LIFE in the SPIRIT.
Such a statement points directly to the WAY that Father has established for His People to appropriate the UNITY He has ordained……………the principle of the CROSS.
The Cross is not what you’d call a real popular topic nowadays. Christendom has established and propagated a certain “understanding” of the Cross and then moved on to things considered to be more important. However, I suggest that if there is any hope of entering true Unity in the Body of Christ, then we all get to drag ourselves, along with our doctrinal and experiential preferences, to the foot of the Cross and apply the Cross as Father intended………..a yielding of our minds in submission to His thoughts, death to the flesh and its powers to seek pre-eminence in God’s Business and learning to live LIFE led by the Spirit.
In Christ is where true Unity exists and the Cross is the means by which any truly interested parties gain entrance. The sooner we repent (change our minds) and realize that the Cross is an eternal principle implemented by Father through the Son and is the Way of Life that is intended to be consistently applied, the sooner we will have the Spiritual capability to enter into the benefits of every spiritual blessing that HAS BEEN CONFERRED upon us in the heavenly places in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)
So, while I am on board and all about Unity in the Body of Christ for 2015, I am fully convinced it will not come through any “new anointing”, through any type of positional administration touting apostles and elders or through contrived programs to integrate existing religious forms. Regardless of how well intentioned it is, flesh will never accomplish something for God. Sons do not formulate recipes of what “unity” is and determine “how” it is to be created. Sons honor the Unity that Father perfected forever through the sacrifice of The Son! Unity exists in Him and it awaits those who will tread the New and Living Way prepared by The Forerunner.
I am simply going to continue to apply the Cross principle in my own life and keep my eye peeled for dead (to the flesh) men walking (in the Spirit) with whom to relate and seek out opportunities to share Life with those who are spiritually dead. Simple approach, perhaps but one worthy of committing to in the New year, I think.
Rather than attempting to reinvent the wheel here, I will refer to someone who is extremely more qualified and capable of expressing what it is I am trying to say. The following words were penned in 1954 by T. Austin Sparks. Before his departure from this earth in 1971, Sparks entrusted his writings and recordings to a small group of people who committed to continue the dissemination of his life’s work without revisions and never for cost. I had the privilege of meeting with them over a weekend several years ago. During the course of our discussions, they told me that Sparks did not expect to see any fruit from his labor for at least three generations because, in his estimation, the Body of Christ had turned away from the message of the Cross and the centrality of Christ to pursue other measures in attempting to achieve God’s intentions.
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will minister to you as you read the words below. Keep your peace!
The Unity of the Spirit
by T. Austin-Sparks
“Giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3.
This unity is that which is resultant from the indwelling and dominating control of the Holy Spirit.
The illustration is that of the head and the body. Every limb or member, every faculty of the body is controlled by the nervous system, and this nervous system works from and to the head where it has its base.
In the Body of Christ the Holy Spirit is the great nervous system, and only as there is an immediate response to every intimation of the will of the Head, and the life unbrokenly in correspondence with His mind, can there be an expression of the unity of which the New Testament speaks.
Three things must be clearly noticed.
1. We cannot “keep” what does not exist. The admonition presupposes our having received the Holy Spirit into our lives in a vital way and having surrendered ourselves entirely to His control and direction.
2. We cannot create this unity. It is essentially spiritual. Creeds, organizations, the social spirit, compromise on matters of interpretation and practice can never achieve it.
3. There is the paradox of unity. “Peace” in the scriptures means harmony. But while Christ is called “the Prince of peace” and while that harmony has been created in many lives and spheres where He has been enthroned, He clearly said that one result of His coming would be not peace but a sword.
It is clear that wherever His Cross has been fully presented, there has been trouble and upheaval. All the things against which His Cross stands have at once created a state of war. The world, the flesh, in all their forms and expressions, make spiritual unity impossible; and in so far as even Christians are influenced in their judgments, their standards of reckoning, their conceptions, as well as in their motives, methods and means, by the world-spirit or the Adam nature, these things likewise make spiritual oneness impossible.
The fuller the presentation of the Cross, the greater the arousing of the elements of the fallen nature and therefore – on the one hand, the greater peril and possibility of discord, and, on the other hand, the call for a more complete capitulation to the life of the Spirit as against the life in the flesh.
This work of separating will be carried out in ourselves personally, in our homes, in our local churches, and in Christendom at large.
On this basis of flesh and spirit the “house divided against itself” will fall.
True unity has its birth at Calvary, where the world and the flesh – with the Devil working through both to maintain his discord in the universe – were dealt with and forever ruled out of the new creation.
This unity which Calvary creates calls for our diligence for its maintenance.
Certain things might well be borne in mind:
(1) The Holy Spirit is of one mind, and never leads in two ways which contradict each other in principle.
(2) The Holy Spirit is unchanging in truth. With Him there is no variableness from time to time.
(3) Differences of degree should never be a ground of division. The different ages and degrees of maturity in our family need never throw the family into schism.
(4) Basic contradictions or inconsistencies will ever result in arrested fellowship, and be fruitful ground for the satanic sower of seeds of discord.
(5) We must never act on a principle of expediency, policy, or prejudice, in order to try to advance the Lord’s interests and safeguard the truth. It is better to have a more limited sphere of usefulness – as men regard it – than to keep doors open by compromise. This, at length, brings a breach with the faithful.
(6) Spiritual oneness is “in Christ,” not in ourselves. The ascendancy of Christ over self is the only way to this oneness.
(7) Let it be ever recognised that in the Lord’s spiritual house there are His order and appointments. To be out of our place, to assume a position or ministry which is not ours, to interfere with others who are the “Lord’s anointed”, to mentally ignore, despise, or set aside such, to be negligent of our own ministry, or in any other way to disturb the Divine order is to upset “the unity of the Spirit”, and to throw the Body into a disturbed and conflicting state.
There are many things to be discerned in our “giving diligence to keep the unity”, but if the Cross has been truly applied to our own life, and we are really walking after the Spirit, we shall know within ourselves what these things are.