How can church unity be achieved?

Psalm 133:1 teaches, "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" How can a church reach biblical unity?

The apostle Paul focuses on the key to unity in Philippians 2. Verses 3-5 observe, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus." The goals include humility, putting others first, and following the example of Christ.

The example of Christ is articulated in the following verses (vv. 6-8): "Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Jesus took the role of servant even to the point of giving His life on behalf of those He loved.

Another example of achieving unity is found in Ephesians 4:12-13: "To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until 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." Church leaders are to equip church members to serve Christ and one another. This humble service builds unity among the church that leads to maturity.

Of great importance in Ephesians 4 is the emphasis on godly leadership. Verse 11 notes that the church's leaders were "given" by Christ to the church. These leaders are to be people of godly character, who lead their families well, have the ability to teach (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9), shepherd God's people, and live by example among them (1 Peter 5:1-4). When godly leaders live and serve humbly alongside God's people, God can grow a united church body that impacts a community and beyond.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul compares the body of Christ with the human body. He notes that every part is of equal importance and must work together in harmony for success. For the church to achieve true, biblical unity, there must shared beliefs and shared actions. Only when every member is actively involved will true unity be achieved.

As mentioned, this unity must also be based upon truth. In the church, the Bible is the basis for our shared beliefs about Jesus and other matters of faith. As 2 Timothy 3:16-17 teaches, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."

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