In the Bible several types of unity are seen, there is the unity between Jesus and God: "I and the Father are one” (John 10:30); there is unity that exists between Jesus and his people: “I in them and you in me” (John 17:23) and there is ynity in faith that we are encouraged to move towards and this can be uncovered within the body of Christ.
There is another unity however that Paul speaks about, the "unity of the Spirit" - "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). The kind of peace spoken about here is spiritual unity, the kind of unity that Jesus was thinking of in his prayer in John 17.
The moment we enter the church we become part of the body that is united by the power and energy of the Holy Spirit. Our task then is to maintain unity. We belong to Jesus and we realise that because of this we belong to everyone else who belongs to Jesus.
We learn in John 17 that the world is a tremendous battleground where forces under satan's power and those under God's authority are at war. Satan and his forces are motivated by hatred for Jesus and his followers.
We see that Jesus prayed for his disciples including those of us who follow him today. Jesus prayed that God would keep his chosen believers safe from satan's power, setting us all apart and making us all pure and Holy and this is the KEY thing that unites us all through our faith in Jesus.
God wants and wanted to reveal his character through his disciples and he wants to reveal his character through us, that is why Jesus talks about the disciples being united in harmony and love as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are united. (This is the only way that we will reach the outside world as a church).
A follower of Jesus becomes sanctified (set apart for sacred use and made Holy). Jesus didn't ask God to take us believers out of the world but instead use us in the world to build his Kingdom. We are called to be “salt and light.”
Jesus’ great desire was for his disciples and followers that we would become one, united as a powerful witness to the reality of God's love. We need to be a unifying body of believers in our church, by praying for the church, avoiding gossip, building each other up, working together in humility, giving our time and money to exalt Jesus and refusing to get side-tracked by arguing over divisive matters.
I pray God will lead us all in His ways as we act as one body in Christ.
Written by Arnold Politt