As we look about us today we see that Christendom is divided into hundreds of sects. We read much about these divisions as men deplore them. There is a widespread accusation that men are dividing the body of Christ. And men everywhere are seeking to make až žunion, to gather the sects and denominations together under one head. But of course that one head will be a man.
In the midst of all this the question comes to mind as to whether there can be divisions in the body of Christ. If so, how could it be done? Where would one start? What means could be used?
In Ephesians 4:3-6 there is mentioned the unity of the Spirit. It is sevenfold as follows:
ONE LORD One Hope One Faith One Spirit One Baptism One Body One God and Father
No one can make this unity. It is already made. It is to be kept, that is all that one can do about it. But somebody is sure to ask if the unity is broken if somebody does not keep it. Failing to keep the unity is not breaking it or making any divisions. The unity cannot be changed by man's attitude toward it. It remains nonetheless.
In man-made organizations, there can be all kinds of divisions and splits. And they can also make a unity by joining organizations together. But no such unity can be a spiritual one.
In the churches during Acts, there were divisions and strife. This was wrong and was mentioned along with carnality, fornication, incest, and the like. But after Acts the word church never again appears in the plural and no longer does the term apply to a group of believers here on the earth. The church today is seated with Christ in the heavens. What man can ascend to heaven to divide this church?
The Head of the church today is seated at the right hand of God in the heavenlies. If any man were to try to be head of the church today, he would have to invade heaven itself and displace Christ from His position there. Yet men vainly imagine that the church is here on the earth and that a man is its head. And many a martyr died in the flames insisting that Christ was the Head of the church, and not somebody else.
What man can ascend to heaven to break the unity of the Spirit? Yet we are told that we are to strive earnestly to keep it. We are to watch over it, to take care of it in our own lives, to keep an eye upon it, not looking to something else as a substitute, and to observe it attentively. Our failure to do this does not break it, but it can break us. We can suffer loss and lose our joy.
Keeping the unity of the Spirit is closely knit with the walk. The unity can be manifested in the walk. If one will closely read this chapter 4, he will see that this all leads on to a unity of the faith mentioned in verse 13. But there can be no unity of faith without a knowledge of the the Son of God. This leads to maturity, the full grown man.