15.5 Spiritual Unity Should Spring From One Faith
Part 5 (see part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4)
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-5
We are a family of humanity and we should be at peace with other races, nationalities, ethnicities, and languages. The Bible says we are to be, as far as possible, at peace with all others, even other religions and lack of religion.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Romans 14:19
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14
We should be at peace with people of different lifestyles, preferences, and orientations. Some of the strongest Christian witnesses I know of are testimonies of the Amish or the African American church members of faith who forgave and showed the love of God to those who actually murdered innocent family members. That is supernatural love and Christ-like forgiveness.
Obviously, being at peace and demonstrating love to others, “while they are still sinners” (Romans 5:8) is not condoning or accepting their sinful lifestyles or deviant behaviors, but it is extending to others the forgiveness and love that Christ showed and gave to us. Read Romans 5:6-8
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Once a person has received the indwelling Christ, God’s redeeming and convicting Holy Spirit can give dunamas power and authority to become and live like a child of God. John 1:12-13 says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--children born, not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
Since Christ loved us when we were sinners, how much more should we live in love and harmony with our fellow believers who are saved. There are people in the world who are not believers that I have to ask God to help me to love. It is not in my nature, but in my nature there is sin. Now that I am a Christian, I have a new nature. The old nature has passed away. Read how the New Living Translation conveys the “new normal” of a born-again believer.
5 When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. 6 But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit. (Romans 7:5-6, NLT)
21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. (Ephesians 4:21-24, NLT)
5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you… 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. (Colossians 3:5,7-11, NLT)
Are you truly a follower of Christ? Then extend love and peace to those who are also members of the family of God and who also seek to follow the Son. I know I do not follow Christ at all times and in every way. But knowing that others still love me and forgive me will help me stay on the path and return to it when I stray.