We must all speak the same thing
"Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Corinthians 1:10).
"Be of the same mind toward one another" (Romans 12:16).
Many think this level of agreement is impossible. Yet, Christians are told to "be perfectly joined together;" to think, speak and act in harmony. This is possible, but only with the help of God.
We can speak the same thing if we follow Christ.
All who follow Christ are united in Him.
Following someone else causes division. That was the problem at Corinth. Paul continues: "For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, 'I am of Paul,' or 'I am of Apollos,' or 'I am of Cephas,' or 'I am of Christ.' Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" (1 Corinthians 1:11-13).
Division is caused by following the founder or leader of some denomination rather than Christ.
To follow Christ means to obey Him.
To speak the same thing, we must speak according to God's word: "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1 Peter 4:11).
To be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment, our thoughts, words and actions must be guided by the word of God. How can we be divided if we obey Christ? Paul admonished Timothy: "But as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:14-17).
We may not go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6). "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son" (2 John 9).
Division is caused by people who follow fables rather than the word of God. Paul wrote to Timothy: "I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables" (2 Timothy 4:1-4).
"Preach the word!" All who preach the Word of God, speak the same thing, "holding fast the faithful word" (Titus 1:9), "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15).
Division comes from a lack of love for the truth. People are devoted to false doctrines, their own ideas, the latest fads, the wisdom of this world and the traditions of men. Jesus said to the self-righteous, pious people of His time: "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men'" ... "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition" (Mark 7:6-9).
Unity exists by definition in the body of Christ, His church.
"But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another" (1 Corinthians 12:24,25).
Division does not come from God. "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace" (1 Corinthians 14:33). He has given us all we need, to be one in Christ.
Paul explains this in his letter to the Ephesians: "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore He says: 'When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.' (Now this, 'He ascended' what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ -- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love" (Ephesians 4:1-16).
Why then is there so much division?
This is the fault of those who do not follow Christ, who do not speak according to God's Word, who turn away from the truth and listen to fables, who go beyond what is written, who do not remain in the doctrine of Christ.
Division is inevitable between those who follow Christ and those who do not follow Christ. "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" (Amos 3:3).
Paul explains this to the Corinthians, whom he admonished to speak the same thing: "For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you" (1 Corinthians 11:18,19).
If we are approved by God, we experience unity in the body of Christ: if we follow Christ, speak according to God's word, love the truth and turn away from fables, if we continue in the doctrine of Christ and do not go beyond what is written.
If we do not listen to the Head, we are not in the body. When Christ controls our thoughts, words and actions, we will think, speak and act as one, as one body. Then we have one Spirit, one faith, one baptism, and one Lord.
My prayer to God is "that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" (Philippians 1:27).
"Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 15:5,6).
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive