11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. -Ephesians 4: 11-16
Predestination…limited atonement…church leadership…denominational differences. All these things involve doctrine that fuel so much debate in the Church nowadays. Does the Bible specifically answer each of them 100%? No. Will we always be in a state of constant debate over these topics and topics like these? Most likely, yes. This passage tells us how some of these “winds of doctrine” should not, under any circumstances, destroy the unity of the body of Christ. After all, some of them are contrived through man’s trickery and scheming! But what is this unity? My study Bible summarizes: Members of the body are one in:
- Body: the fellowship of believers–the Church
- Spirit: the Holy Spirit, who activates the fellowship
- Hope: the glorious future to which we are all called
- Lord: Christ, to whom we all belong
- Faith: our singular commitment to Christ
- Baptism: the sign of entry into the Church
- God: our Father who keeps is for eternity
These are the areas where Christians must agree to achieve true oneness and unity. When this unity is present, small differences and disagreements in doctrine can’t dissolve that unity. But how do we not let differences get in the way? Sure, it’s great to state the fact that they “shouldn’t get in the way,” but realistically speaking, how do we do it? Love. We must love one another within the body of Christ. Sometimes it seems as less important to love those within the church, just because they “don’t need it as much as people who aren’t saved.” WRONG. We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we don’t do this in the church, we are taking away from the unity of the Church, which is one of the most defining characteristics of the church!
God did not create us to stand by and not love. We are made in the image of God. God is love. Thus we love in return, even when it is hard. As Christians, we are called love one another! How can you show your love to somebody today?