John 17:20-26 – Unity
The Apostle Paul was passionate about the Lord Jesus and the Church. His desire
to protect and mature the Church is very evident in his pastoral letters. Although
the corrections that needed to be brought varied from church to church, the
focus of love and unity were always a central message. Whether rebuking the
Corinthians for their quarrels and sectarianism and appealing for them to be of
one heart and mind, or teaching the Romans that they were one body and they
belonged to each other (Romans 12:5), his desire was for Jesus Christ to be
Let us further consider Paul’s writings. In his letter to the Galatians he addresses
issues of race and status, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for
all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There
is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in
Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-28) He also makes reference to these matters in
Colossians and slightly broadens the target, “Here there is no Greek or Jew,
circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all,
and in all.” (3:11).
Let me digress a little here and address an issue that is still a problem in
Christendom, the matter of national and cultural allegiance, or pride or identity.
Some years ago I visited my birth home and was doing the tourist thing, visiting
historical places and buildings and reading the history. I bought some books and
some souvenirs and was becoming quite interested in it all. As I was standing in
a particular location famous for a great victory against the enemy, the Holy Spirit
confronted me. He said, “You belong to the Kingdom of God, and are a citizen of
heaven”. It was very clear to me that this was a rebuke, and I was not to cling to,
or carry any sense of pride with regard to my nationality and culture.
This is somewhat of a difficult subject because we should love and be loyal to our
country. But when we are born again, we become part of the family of God and
our identity should be as Paul declared, we are sons of God. Paul describes it like
this, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with
God’s people and members of God’s household”. (Ephesians 2:19)
This returns us to our topic, God only has one family, and access to that family is
only through Christ Jesus, and if we are in Christ we are all one.
Are you in Christ?