Unity as God Prescribed It

Because the gospel of salvation in Christ is for all humanity, it was divinely designed to include people with differing cultures and consciences. In the first century this meant placing in one united body Jews who had very strict dietary rules and Gentiles who grew up with very few, if any, dietary restrictions.

For this divinely designed arrangement to work, every Christian has to recognize and live by the fact that in Christ there are some things which are non-negotiable. There is only one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God (Ephesians 4:4-6). These non-negotiables are matters of doctrine on which there must be unity of belief.

On the other side of this coin is the equally important recognition and acceptance of the fact that in Christ there are some things which are matters of indifference to God. Whether you eat meats such as pork or only vegetables does not affect in any way your relationship with deity, provided you extend this same indifference/liberty to every fellow Christian whose con­science on the matter differs from yours.

Grave problems have arisen throughout history when Christians have failed to understand these two vital pillars for genuine unity. In matters of divine revelation, there must be strict conformity to God’s word. In matters of human conscience, there must be liberty for each child of God to live in harmony with his personal convictions.

Genuine unity will exist when: 1) in matters of doctrine there is conformity, not liberty and 2) in matters of conscience there is liberty, not conformity.

In Romans 14:1-15:13 the apostle Paul discusses how to go about maintaining unity with­in the body of Christ via the practice of liberty in matters of conscience. This is another way that the gospel of Christ is to be lived in your daily life.

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Author: jchowning

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