One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism

by Andrew Barnhart
     When considering what to write for this post, I originally had one thing in mind.  However, it felt forced and something about it didn’t feel right.  Then the events of January 6th happened.  I was at work, but I listened on the radio describing the scene as people forcefully entered our nation's Capitol building.  I knew then what I needed to write about.  I spent the next couple of weeks thinking about what happened.  I thought about things I had seen and heard leading up to this - how people were un-friending people - in real life and on social media.  We have “snoozed” people we don’t agree with or even unfollowed people.  Previous relationships have become strained based on mostly political beliefs.  Some people have even gone as far as not buying a pillow or buying coffee from someone we may disagree with politically.  

     The division we see in our country currently is definitely high.  I’m writing to remind myself and the church that we cannot allow these same divisions to come into the church.  The local church (and universal church) is made up of individuals of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and even different nations.  We have people who grow up in single parent homes, blended family homes, and a traditional 2 parent home.  We are made up of people with varying shades of skin color and accents.  There are people who have graduated college, some who did not finish, and others who never went.  People who are successful financially and people who struggle making ends meet.  Even people who vote Republican, while others vote Democrat.  
John, the apostle, is instructed in the book of Revelation to write what he sees.  In chapter 7, he writes, “I looked, and saw a great multitude, which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…(saying) Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.”

     Now, since we know that Heaven will be like that, we (the church) are to demonstrate what eternity will be like to the culture by living out that truth in the here and now!  People outside the church ought to be able to look at the people inside the church and ask the obvious question - “What’s going on in there and why can’t we have that (unity) out here?”
I think this time in America’s history is an opportunity for the church - and me as an individual member of the body - to demonstrate what unity can look like.  Unity is not everyone being or thinking the same, but rather having a oneness in purpose.  There is so much division outside the church that unity inside the church should be a bright light drawing people to the God of the church.  

     A missionary came to our church a few years ago.  This missionary travels all over the world to many different countries, many of whom are suspicious about who they are, what they are doing, and why they are there.  He said many governments are afraid that they are there to undermine the government somehow.  He said something that has stuck with me to this day - especially in light of what's been going on in our country for a while.  He said (in regards to governments being suspicious of them), “Our battle isn’t to subvert or overthrow the government where we go, our battle is for the hearts and souls of men.”  After what happened here on January 6th, this truth is applicable to me and to us here in America. My primary focus as a follower of Christ is not who’s in the White House - that’s temporary.  Our battle as a church is against the Devil; and for the hearts and souls of men - that’s eternal!  

     If we lose the eternal focus over what we as a church are battling for, and instead focus too much attention on the temporary (like politics), then we are not fulfilling our mission - and what the church was set apart and called to do.  

     My family member, my co-worker, my neighbor will spend eternity somewhere.  Is it really worth withdrawing from, not talking to, or un-friending someone over something temporary at the expense of what will be eternal?  It isn’t!  We can’t allow anything to divide us because our oneness comes not from how we look or how we think - but in the One whom our salvation rests!  

Behold, How good and how pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell in unity. (Psalm 133:1).

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