Monday, May 04, 2015

Bonds of Christian Unity - The Body


When the scriptures talk of one body in Ephesians 4:4, it is reasonable to assume an expectation that Christianity will form an indivisible whole. In fact, in the same breadth, earlier in Ephesians 4:3, the author talks of unity. Therefore, verse 4 is a qualifier or an explanation of the demand or progression from Christian unity. In modern times, Christianity hardly presents a unified viewpoint on any issue; be it on scriptural demands like baptism or social issues like abortion. Christianity appears as a rudderless confused mass for fashion has polluted and overwhelmed its basic principles. Christians are busy trying to outdo each other with issues of political correctness than of understanding the delivery of the provisions of their faith with a single purpose of soul winning. It is important for Christians to present to a unified front on the principles that define every Christian. Historical antecedents We can trace the existence of divisions and groups with dissimilar cultures and practices in the history of Christianity. Yet, one has to dig deep to discover these divisions and their values. A popular quote states that, "I am of Paul, or I am Apollo... " (I Cor. 1:12, I Cor. 3:4). This shows that even within the heavily persecuted small group of forming a growing Church, divisions arose to the extent that doctrines threatened to fragment Christianity. The meeting between Peter and Paul to iron issues relating to circumcision and the validity of the Gentile converts to call themselves Christians is a good reference point in how such issues were resolved for the purpose of church growth; the issue of primary significance to Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:18). The discussions between James and Peter on how to synchronize the principles of Christian worship is another case in point that illustrates how early Christian leaders addressed divisive issues in the body of Christ. James was the skeptical brother of Jesus and hard-line believer in Judaism. He later became the head of the Christian Church in among the Jews in Jerusalem; while Peter organized the advancing front of new Jewish converts outside of Jerusalem, up to and including Rome. Similarly, the followers of the doctrines of John the Baptist had to integrate into Christianity for functioning of a united body of Christ - the Church. Demands of the Creed The creed has its demands or minimum requirement for it to function optimally. For instance, in a gearing system, aluminum and steel may look alike, but cannot function well as opposing contacts. Otherwise, the gear will soon fail as steel outwears aluminum. Similarly, the creed defines the expectation of individual components of the unified body. The Bible in Romans 12:1 describes the minimum expectations of God from every Christian. This scripture talks about offering our bodies as a holy sacrifice to God in expressing our gratitude for the grace of salvation. Further, in Romans 12:2, Apostle Paul enjoins us to be ready to change our thought patterns. The readiness to change our thought patterns exposes us to the opportunity to examine other behavior patterns and to determine the behaviors that please God. Once the core of our beings become similar, they can be trusted to function together in unison when individuals (components) are brought together to form a functioning body (the church or church group). Therefore, the adoption of a psychology that reinforces holy habits in an individual becomes the requisite for forming a unified church. Recommendations How does a psychology of holy habits play out in real life? Actually, a life that constantly weighs the difference between evil and good in order to please God will always find itself transforming from the pole of wickedness towards God (Romans 12:9). Yet, as one struggles with the idea, God rewards the individual with various blessings in addition to the grace of salvation (Romans 12:12). However, it is Colossians 3:1-5 that defines the psychology and practice of holy habits, the type that pleases God. Specifically, verse 5 is instructive as quoted: Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry (Col. 3:5) Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7767029

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