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Articles > Sanctified Unity


22 Apr 2016

            Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Ps. 133:1)

In this Psalm of David we see the wondrous blessings of the brethren dwelling together in unity. Paul also spoke of unity when he wrote to the Ephesians encouraging them to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” and how we were to all on day come to “the unity of the faith” (Eph. 4:3, 13). As a consequence of these Scriptures, true believers know it is paramount for us pursue unity.

However, as we examine this crucial topic we must recognize and discern that there are various types of unity. First, let’s start with the biblical idea of unity and understands what that means. The word unity spoken of by David comes from the Hebrew word that means a unit, and as an adverb means unitedly, and finds it origin in the word “yachad,” which means to be one.

The term unity spoken of in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians comes from the Greek word “henotes” and means oneness and figuratively means unanimity. Oneness is defined as a state of or condition of perfect harmony or accord, or the state of being united; in agreement. Unanimity is a form of the word unanimous and means, sharing the same opinions or views; being in complete harmony or accord.

Based on the above information, we could say that in its extended definition unity means a state or condition of sharing the same opinions or views so as to be in complete agreement, harmony, and accord. It means that we unanimously agree so therefore we join together in unity. In this case the idea of unity sounds so quaint, wonderful, and even awe-inspiring.

Examples of Unity

As wholesome as unity sounds it is not an exclusively Christian idea, but is a concept that is used by many groups in a variety of contexts. For instance, Satan and his demonic hordes are unified in their resistance and rebellion towards God. Liberal members of our current society are in agreement and unity about political correctness and use it to batter alternate opinions into submission. Islamic warriors are in complete harmony in unifying around the Koran’s directive to kill infidels.

In another case, the Pope and his Catholic hierarchy are unified around the goal of persuading Protestants to repent for their rebellious wandering and to come back under the Mother Church. And, Freemasons are totally unified in operating by the Luciferian secrets associated with the ancient Egyptian mystery religions. Interfaith groups made up of Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Traditional tribal shamans and the like unify around the idea that “we all serve the same god,” therefore, we are all part of a legitimate spiritual community.

Exploring Biblical Unity

These are just a few examples of the various applications for the idea of unity. But, what is the unity that Jesus, David and Paul are speaking of? Jesus’ prayer for His church in John 17 sheds great light on this question. Jesus prayed that His people “all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us” (Jn. 17:21). Later, He prayed, “that they may be one just as We are one; I in them, and You in me” (Jn. 17:22). Jesus prayed that true believers would be joined together as one, just as He and His Father were one.

Considering this we might next ask what is the unifying factor that makes the Father and Son one? We find the answer in Isaiah where the angels cried out to one another and said:

              “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isa. 6:3)

The angels were crying out – Holy is the Father, Holy is the Son, Holy is His Spirit. You see the unifying factor of the Godhead is at least twofold. First, is the awesome holiness that unifies them as one, and second, is they are eternally joined together by the truth that unites them. So we see one of the key ingredients of their eternal unity is the very Holiness of their nature.

Digging deeper we find that the word Holy in the Hebrew means “sacred,” and has its origin in the word “qadash” which means (ceremonially and morally) to “be clean.” Here, we see the divine association and alignment between the ideas of holy, sacred, and to be clean.

While holiness is a key factor in biblical unity, Jesus helps us complete its connection to the truth. In the midst of His prayer for the unity of His church is a word Jesus uses three times. In His prayer He said, “sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” He also stated, “for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth” (Jn. 17:17, 19).

Here the word, sanctify in the Greek means “to make holy,” and ceremonially it means “to purify” or “to consecrate.” Mentally, it means to “venerate” which is defined as to regard with deep respect or reverence. The word purify is defined as, to rid of impurities, to free from moral or spiritual defilement, and to free from extraneous, contaminating, or debasing matter.

Truth, Purity, and Unity

Jesus was saying it is the truth of God’s word that makes the believer holy, because it purifies him, making him free from moral or spiritual defilement, and freeing him from unnecessary, contaminated, or corruptible elements. This gives new meaning to Jesus’ words when He says, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32).

Knowing God’s word empowers and equips us to be free from moral or spiritual defilement, corruption, contamination, and a whole slew of disempowering impurities. It is the continual washing of the water of God’s word that helps us to put on the true righteousness and holiness that He endorses (Eph. 4:24).

Discernment and Unity

It is apparent true biblical unity revolves around God’s idea of being spiritually clean, which is the basis for what He considers to be holy, and is only achieved by knowing and putting on His word. All other forms of unity are outside the realm of God’s spiritually purified view of unity, and therefore are a counterfeit and contrary to true unity.

All the examples of unity mentioned before our definition of true biblical unity are in some way spiritually unclean, corrupt, contaminated, defiled, unholy, or impure in some way. Therefore, to unite with such groups or parties would not be pleasing in God’s sight, and would violate His command to “come out from among them and be separate, and...do not touch what is unclean” (2 Cor. 6:17).

Call to Sanctified Unity

In this world, there are many calls to unity. The United Nations calls for a type of unity that embraces the many cultures, religions, social norms, and ideals of a fallen world. The World Council of Churches calls for a religious unity that renders the criteria for true biblical unity null and void.

Even in the Evangelical and Charismatic realms of Christianity there are groups that have embraced a notion of unity that draws them into places of spiritual contamination and vulnerability. However, true wise discerning believers carefully examine the various calls to unity and before answering any call ask themselves the question; is what I am entering into “Sanctified Unity” or is it a type of unity that would be displeasing to my Father in heaven?

Through His word God informs us of the kind of unity He expects and endorses, therefore the weight of our decision falls upon each one of us. I pray we all choose wisely.

© Copyright 2016 Ivan G. Doxtator

 

Ivan Doxtator