I have heard much talk about “unity in the Church” lately. I believe how we define and or perceive “unity” gives us our outlook or perspective of whether or not we see the church unified or not unified or somewhere in between. And what exactly was Jesus talking about in John 17 when He said the believers would be unified? Is it a kumbaya moment where everyone agrees with everyone else on everything within the body of Christ? Is it we believe in pretty much the same thing and we now we have unity. Or, Is it we are all under the banner of Jesus Christ? What does unity look like?
Unity is defined as:
I happened to be reading in my Message version Bible a few days ago and once again found myself reading John 17 where Jesus is praying to His Father in heaven and I was meditating on verses 20-23 in particular. I had notes in my bible I had made over a year ago that said:
“He knew the church would become divided and He knew there would come a time when they would be reunited. “I gave them” note the the tense used-this means that what we need is His glory and we will be mature in this oneness.”
Now, around a year later since He asked me whether or not I wanted to know Him as He knows me, His word has come alive for me in such a deeper way, I am so grateful. So while reading this part of scripture again, I saw it a little more clearly for me and I wanted to share that. Here is the scripture from the Message version:
I’m praying not only for them But also for those who will believe in me Because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind— Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, So they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The SAME GLORY YOU GAVE ME, I GIVE THEM, So they WILL BE AS UNIFIED and TOGETHER AS WE ARE— I in them and you in me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, And give the godless world evidence That you’ve sent me and loved them In the same way you’ve loved me. (John 17:20-23 MSG)-emphasis mine
A year ago I believed in some way we needed to do “all these things” (I use this term as it could mean a insurroumountable amount of stuff) to attain His glory. That the only way His glory could be attained is to search for it, be holy enough, pray enough….etc…you hopefully get what I am saying. Yet, above in the scripture Jesus said the same glory You gave Me, I give them. Huh?!?!?! 😉 Simple: He gave. Because He gave we are unified and together just as God and Jesus are. It even states we will be mature in this oneness and give the Godless world evidence that He was sent and how much God loves us because He gave us His glory.
You might be thinking wait just a moment here. It sure doesn’t look like the church is unified. All I see is a bunch of division. Yet, He gave us His glory living inside of us. So, we are unified. We are truly one, period. We just have a bunch of people in the middle of their process and many don’t know or understand what they really have living inside of them as a believer in Jesus. It is God Himself in the form of the Holy Spirit that lives inside. That is His Glory! So we are unified whether or not we like it. It is time to simply believe or understand it.
We don’t need to find or attain His glory. We need to just believe in Jesus and it is there, inside of us- Christ living in us. He freely gave us His glory, the Holy Spirit. Freely given to those who believe Who Jesus Christ is. Rest in this truth and you will probably be amazed at what happens. Simple.