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Can Division Cause Unity?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Authority and the Church, Part 11

by Steve Ham on February 4, 2011
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Steve Ham, AiG–U.S., explains what Jesus meant when He said that He came to bring division in Luke 12:51.

Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. (Luke 12:51)

Today’s big question: can division cause unity?

The church is a united body of believers committed to the lordship of Jesus Christ. That description is not always how the church looks, but at least it should. Because of Jesus Christ, millions of people through the ages have been united to one common message and one common Lord.

Jesus recognized that His truth would often divide rather than unite. Jesus warned us that because of Him the whole world would be divided against His followers. Even family households would split as a result of the message of Christ: “For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three” (Luke 12:52). What is it about Christ’s message unites some people at the same time as it divides others

The very aspects of the message that have united Christians all through history have also caused great offense to the world. The gospel message presents some hard truths that humanity needs to face. The Bible tells us that we are all sinful and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The Bible also tells us that the consequence of our sin is death, and we are going to face God in judgment.

The fact that humanity needs a Savior is not something most people want to face. If this truth were not enough to divide, the Bible also makes clear that there is no other way to be saved but through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Who wants to be told that there is only one truth and if you don’t agree with it, you are lost forever? The message of the gospel requires a humbled spirit and a broken heart—something foreign to the desire of most humans today.

Even within the church we have seen lack of unity, and in the next few days, we will talk a little more about such issues. The biggest barrier to unity is human pride. Whether within the church or in the world, the acceptance of man’s word over God’s Word draws a dividing line. The church as a people united in Christ should be a people united in His truth. If the church compromises with the philosophies of this world, we would expect disunity in the church. Human pride within the church causes Christians to deny truth in God’s Word in an appeal to our own human intellect.  

There is one Lord, one Savior, and one Truth. Humans may not like this reality, and we may even fight against it, but the unity of the church is based upon it.

Today’s big idea: unity with Christ takes precedence over unity with the world.

What to pray: pray God would enable you to humble yourself to be united to Him as your only source of life and truth.  

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