Rediscovering Oneness in a Divisive World
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them…
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!
As I sit down to write this article, our nation is experiencing societal and cultural dislocation, breakdown and absolute mayhem like most of us could never have imagined in all our lives. As we observe this chaos many of us can’t help but attempt to connect the dots between the so-called stated impetuous and the frenetic activity resulting. When the destructive activities being carried out are remarkably disproportionate and unrelated to the vociferously espoused rationale, one is forced to look behind the scenes to seek to discover the real motivations driving the insane behavior.
Do we really believe all this destructive behavior is about altruistic sentiments over racism or police brutality or someone’s tragic death or so-called white privilege? When Satan tempted Eve in the garden, was he really concerned about helping Eve achieve parity with God? Absolutely not! He was principally concerned with creating a gulf, a divide between God and man. His goal then and always has been to annihilate man’s relationship with God. Divisiveness has been a prime strategy of Satan from the beginning. The power in this particular strategy is in how it counters one of the principal characteristics of God’s very nature—His oneness!
From the creation story we see the first vestiges of the oneness of God, as expressed in his Trinitarian nature, when God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” God’s oneness is then affirmed in the Hebrew Shema as expressed in the phrase, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! There is something intrinsically spiritually powerful in oneness, in unanimity, in mutual acceptance and agreement, and its roots are in the oneness of God himself. This kind of oneness illustrates how the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts. It does not mean that we must agree on every jot and tittle in our lives of faith but rather that we choose to practice Christian love, deference, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance and thoughtfulness toward one another. It has to do with esteeming others before ourselves. The fruit of biblical oneness is peace, tranquility, rest and the complete absence of strife and antagonism.
Being at one with one another doesn’t mean that we all share the same persuasion regarding issues, preferences or other matters. It doesn’t mean we have to like the same sports teams, the same genre of music or politics. It means that we can hold differences without enmity, without mutual animosity, while at the same time practicing acceptance and tolerance toward one another. This kind of biblical oneness which reflects such an important aspect of God’s very nature can be embraced without doing violence to the individual’s unique personality, preferences and strengths. It is a oneness that prospers through the free exercise of mutual deference. It is free to celebrate the uniqueness and contribution of others without being threatened in itself.
The maxim, divide et impera, divide and conquer, is attributed to Philip of Macedon (359 BC), father of Alexander the Great. It is principally a strategy of war wherein an effort is made to destroy the cohesiveness of one’s enemy so that individual parts can more easily be defeated. The true origin of this technique obviously rests with Satan who constantly attempts to bring division into any and all relationships. Whether he is exercised over destroying a marriage, a community, a church or an athletic team, his efforts will be directed toward breaking down every significant relationship. He does this because he knows there is great power in unity.
Divisiveness has never been more intentionally perpetrated nor in evidence as in our present inanity over the purported Covid “pandemic.” I’m not going to use this article to demonstrate how completely moronic the response has been to this virus, but if you are living in fear of something that is no more dangerous or fatal than the common flu you have drunk the cool-aid being dutifully served up by rouge government agencies and a complicit mainstream media. Satan must be beside himself with glee over this response that has introduced numerous so-called solutions that do little to nothing in protecting us from a virus but is very effective in breaking down and destroying meaningful relationships. Masks, social distancing and lockdowns have nothing to do with the fabricated concept of a pandemic. Never before in the history of the world have such innocuous measures been employed under the guise of limiting or curtailing the spread of a contagious disease.
Think about the other ridiculous ways in which we are allowing ourselves to be manipulated and divided. The trumpeted cry of racism is being spewed far and wide through our nation belying the truth that America has always been more cosmopolitan and accepting of immigrants than any other nation in the world. We have forever been duped by the façade of a bilateral political system when any earnest analysis will fully expose the fact there is little to no difference between the political parties. We are so sports crazy that we will literally allow angst and animosity to rule while we elevate our preference for certain teams or athletes to have precedence over God-ordained relationships. What we have permitted and perpetuated in the name of Christianity through the propagation of enumerable denominations and sects is Satan’s prize exhibition in his attack on the oneness of God.
Even in our own persons we are constantly fighting to overcome the false identities the world surreptitiously lures us into. Satan works overtime to keep us from finding our true identity in Christ by seeking to align one’s identity with things such as wealth, possessions, talents, abilities, positions, titles, etc. When we fall into this trap, we become very fragmented and fragile persons who are very vulnerable to the shifting sands of the world’s values. A movie star’s good looks will ultimately fade. An athlete’s admirable prowess will one day deteriorate. Fortunes are made and fortunes are lost. The only fully integrated persons are those whose identity is in Christ alone. The one who can say like Jeremiah, “I am the one whom Jesus knew, loved, called, sanctified and sent.”
One of Satan’s greatest ploys is exercised through satanic ritual abuse called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). In this heinous activity of torture, a person is repeatedly “split” or divided into multiple personalities and set up as a slave for the kingdom of darkness. These various personalities are then given particular functions and are summarily called forth at the behest of the enemy for his dastardly service.
All of the varied substances of divisiveness coalesce as the boards, bricks and mortar for the building of the enemy’s domain. It literally siphons the life out of God’s Kingdom and out of the lives of well-intentioned believers. Satan has been so masterful in this strategy that he has Christians believing they can despise another brother with impunity even though the entire book of First John is replete with dire warnings against such behavior. We have tolerated divisiveness within the Church for so many centuries, aka denominations, that we not only accept it as normal but actively defend it. Do we really believe that in God’s Kingdom come on earth there will be multiple expressions of the church?
In Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus (a large metropolitan center with a host of believers but only one church) he calls their focus to the concept of unity twice in chapter four. The first exhortation is to “unity in the spirit” and is appealed to through the believers’ motivation in humility, meekness, patience, love and peace. In other words he is exhorting the church to practice an achievable unity reached through their exercising the given gifts of grace. Unity in the spirit is a volitional reality emerging from our honoring a Kingdom principle. Paul’s calling the church into unity in the spirit follows his pleadings for them to walk worthy of the calling they have in Christ.
Following in the same chapter we have Paul’s sharing on gift ministries to the church for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry that all may ultimately come into the full stature of the Lord Jesus Christ. His stated end for the edifying ministries in the body of Christ is that all might come into the “unity of the faith.” This kind of unity means that our hearts, our understandings, and our beliefs will be fully aligned with the mind of Christ. This will be a zenith of unity for us personally, for our ecclesial relationships and our oneness with Christ. This will represent persons and a church walking in the power of the Holy Spirit in a dimension that will once again turn the world upside down. God said it is good and pleasant for brothers to dwell together in unity, and then he said “I’m going to command the blessing of everlasting life on this unity.” (Psalm 133)