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Can we achieve unity in a common union with the Messiah Jesus?

Community of Faith

The New Testament places strong emphasis on the importance of Christian unity. Paul exhorts the Ephesian Christians to maintain “the unity [Gk. henótēs] of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).

I therefore, a prisoner for the Master, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift.

ESV (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ephesians 4:1–7

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By living at peace with one another, we are to preserve the oneness that the Spirit imparts to all who are baptized into the body of the Messiah Jesus—a oneness which, like the oneness of the triune God, incorporates diversity.

Are Christians at peace with one another? It does not seem so most days. We do not agree on the basics of faith and battle over what seem to secondary, non-essential doctrines. This confuses Christians and non-Christians.

Diverse gifts and ministries are provided to build up the community as a whole so that it may attain full spiritual maturity—maturity marked by “the unity [henótēs] of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (v 13). 1 Pet. 3:8, likewise, lists “unity of spirit” (Gk. homóphrōn, lit “of the same mind”; AV “of one mind”; NEB “one in thought”) as the first of five essential qualities that should mark the Christian community.

Can we achieve greater unity? We can but we must work on it. It requires more humility than most of us have today. We need more gentleness. We must practice more patience. We have to bear with one another in love. It is essential we maintain the unity of the Holy Spirit in the bond of peace. At least, this is what Paul suggests.

  • 1 Corinthians 10:16–17 — 16 Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of the Messiah? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of the Messiah? 17 Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.
  • John 11:52 — 52 and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
  • Romans 12:4–5 — 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in the Messiah, and individually members one of another.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12 — 12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is the Messiah.
  • Galatians 3:26–28 — 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in the Messiah Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into the Messiah have clothed yourselves with the Messiah. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in the Messiah Jesus.
  • Ephesians 2:17–19 — 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household,
  • Ephesians 4:16 — 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
  • Colossians 3:11 — 11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but the Messiah is all, and in all.