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Relating Faith and Unity
"There is one body, and — one faith." Eph. 4:4-5
The concepts of faith and unity are closely related in scripture. Unity is based in the common flow of spiritual Life in Christ that courses through the soul of every born-again believer. As members of one body, and branches on the same vine, we share one life. This life is the substance of our unity.
Faith is our appropriation of this living flow, a flow recognized within our spirits and maintained by our constant submission to the Spirit within us. As we yield in faith to the power of this Life flow within us, we increasingly discover the hidden unity that exists among all saints.
We do not "create" unity. We only grow in our recognition of it through the eyes of faith. Then, as we put works to our faith, hidden unity becomes manifest unity. We find ourselves able to abide in the presence and fellowship of other believers whom we were hitherto unable to bear with.
The cost of living by faith in this dimension is high. The flow of God's Life bids us constantly to outgrow the confines of our limited perceptions of scripture and holiness by which we find ourselves separating from others. Yes, such seasons of separation are necessary from time to time. In order to purify our own personal flow in faith, God often requires temporal separations to occur. God uses differences of doctrinal perception and practice to hone our personal faithfulness to Him.
But ultimately God wants us to move beyond these limitations. His life that joins us is superior to the limited points of view that separate us. The Truth by which we reach outside our personal scriptural mindset to touch others is greater than the truth by which we raise standards against those who walk outside of us. Thus God ever bids us to move from doctrinal faith that separates to the higher Living Faith that manifests unity, ie, faith rooted only in the flow of His Life.
(Note: To fail to move from doctrinal faith to Living Faith brings upon us the judgment of unbelief. Witness the pharisees who believed in the scriptures, yet were judged of unbelief by the Lord for failure to discern His Life.)
Does this mean God intends all Christians to serve together in one visible equal relationship with one another? No. "We are one body, but many members."
As God's Temple, we have many rooms. There are different corners to His Vineyard. Some of us are evangelists, some teachers, some pastors. Others of us have natures that can only be described as prophetic or apostolic.
Although God wants us to relate according to His Life, His flow sovereignly ordains our particular relationships according to our giftings and levels of growth. So we cannot all serve together visibly at the same time in the same place with the same believers.
Nevertheless, what visible differences we have in fellowship gathering and ministry ought only be decided by the sovereign drawing together of God's Life, not by our fears, suspicions, or negative criticisms of those outside our present mindset. This is the highest faith attainable.
In these closing hours before the return of Christ, God's Spirit is calling the church on Prince Edward Island into a new realm of faith, a realm marked by the unity we have described. The challenge for the believers on Prince Edward Island is to overcome the strongholds of religious attitudes and traditions that cause us to esteem certain truths more highly than we esteem one another.
It is for us to lay down our devotion to cherished concepts of scriptural truth and ministerial positions which, as right as they may be, have long since passed their usefulness in the plan of God for our personal perfection and our present relationships. It's time to put aside those truths marked by our judgments of those who fail to adhere to them. It's time to expand the horizons of our relationships in the body of Christ according to the gracious flow of God's Spirit.
Again, to make this advance in maturity is costly. It requires humility and repentance. It requires the confession and rectification of past offenses having led to relational dissensions and church splits. It requires forgiveness of those who have wounded us over our attempts to faithfully walk out particular truths God impressed on us at one time.
Yet it is this unity alone that proves we ultimately do live by faith, not by the sight of carnal reasoning. This alone will also produce the revival for which many have longed. The remaining question for the church on Prince Edward Island is:
"When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"
written from Merrimack, New Hampshire
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created June 18, 2016