The need for unity.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (NIV)
The great thing about sports happens when many individuals from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, political views, and approaches to life come together as one team to fight through the struggle to overcome their opponent. This is how the human race should also be.
The apostle Paul reminds us here that all of us have sinned and all of us have been freely justified. Justification is not salvation. Justification makes a way for anyone who would choose that way. In other words, we are all sinners. We all need Christ. And Christ died for us all. And this is our greatest struggle. We are all fighting the same enemy of sin and the same worldly temptation. Yet, we struggle to come together as one body, the army of God, standing side by side to fight for one another.
The Bible reminds us that our battle is not against flesh and blood. Our battle is a spiritual one. Our enemy’s plan of attack is to create division. He advances deep into the battle against us when he can create hatred amongst us. And Paul is not simply talking about the church. To speak of justification is to speak of the whole world. To say that all have sinned is to speak of every soul. But Paul is trying to teach us that the church should be aware of this battle and the enemy’s strategy more than anyone. The church should be the example.
When Christian marriages are filled with hatred and heartache, the world wonders what’s the point of Christianity. Christian families fighting, churches splitting, and denominations running the others down are all forms of surrender in the battle. When Christians fight with unbelievers, the enemy wins the battle.
Victory is found in unity, love, and forbearance. We must be unified with our Christian brothers and sisters in the fight for faith so that no earthly issue is given the power to disturb the unity of husband and wife, family units, churches, or denominations. We must have a love for one another to do this. We must love people, inside and outside the church, more than we let what they do or don’t do steal our unity. This is where forbearance comes in. It is a posture of forgiveness toward people even before they offend so that when they do, we are already set to forgive.
Prayer: Lord, help me do my part. Remind me that none of us are perfect, we are all sinners in need of Christ to overcome the battle for our souls. Let me have compassion not irritation with all those around me. Amen.