The key to Christian unity is the gospel. Paul recognized that only God can soften hard hearts, only God can open blind eyes, and ony God can bring disparate people together and form something truly, gloriously united. God is making “one new man” and He is making that new man in His church. In Christ, God is building a “holy temple” (Ephesians 2:21) that is “being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Partiality based on race, class, or status has no place in the place where God dwells by His Spirit.
One of the greatest tragedies in 21st century Christianity is the degree to which identity politics has infiltrated our churches. Hardly a day goes by that I do not communicate with believers who lament the sorrows that have come on their churches due to the godless ideologies of critical theory or intersectionality gaining a foothold in their congregations. Where once there was mutual love and unity among brothers and sisters of various backgrounds, ethnicities, educational backgrounds, or income levels, now there is suspicion, frustration, and disunity within their ranks.
Such tribalism and rivalry cannot coexist with humble, sincere devotion to Jesus Christ as Lord. To have Christ is to embrace the ways of Christ which includes living with the people of Christ in a local church in the unity of the Spirit. Christians are able to do that because “in Christ” we are made into “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15). Seeing yourself as a hyphenated-Christian before you see yourself as a blood-bought sinner inevitably tears the fabric of this precious unity.
As the Apostle Paul puts it in Ephesians 4:4-6, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Any idea or teaching that leads to the balkanization of a church denies this fundamental truth and comes from the pit of hell. No Christian should fall prey to such error and no pastor should allow it entry into the church he serves.
I appreciate what Alistair Begg has written on this in a devotional thought on “The Key to Unity.” His wisdom and encouragement are welcome counsel to every follower of Christ who is trying to navigate the swirling currents of contemporary Christian thought.
The Key to Unity
In him you also are begin built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Ephesians 2:22