Oneness Is not an Option!

I seriously think that one of the problems we can run into when reading the Bible is to think of it as a book written for and about the people in the past. For me, the Bible is the Word of God, and it is not limited to time or space, it can speak to any person at any time when they read it, it can convey a message about their lives and struggles, and also the blessings and joys of life. It is all about a personal way to walk in a relationship with our Father and our neighbors, brothers and sisters, every day of our lives.

One important way to approach the Scriptures is always to be looking for a practical application, how to change my ways of living, and learn to apply the message I am reading about. Another important aspect of the Bible for me is that the Word of God became flesh, Jesus came as a human being to live and suffer, in our midst, showing us the way to walk in the teachings that were once only written. And this is the application I want to focus on in this blog. Over and over, we can find ways that this was the main mission of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, what He came to do, and open the door for us to walk through. He came not only to reconcile us to the Father but also to reconcile us to each other.

I don’t think anyone can claim to be a Christian and not be aware of the ministry of reconciliation and of the priestly prayer found in John 17. Reconciliation and oneness are probably the core of the purpose and mission of the first coming of Christ and it also should be the core of the purpose and mission of the worldwide Body of Christ today. No one can claim to be part of the Body of Christ without considering the implications of reconciliation and oneness. A lot of people want to reach out to the world and have a worldwide impact, but it is clear from the priestly prayer in John 17 that there is only one way for it to happen.

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20–21, emphasis mine). If I am reading this correctly, and these are the words of Jesus, the world will only believe when we are one. Oneness is not an option!

Achieving oneness with old paradigms may be impossible, but we must renew our minds, not try to control how it will all work out. Speaking about the oneness of the Body of Christ one must refer to Paul’s instructions about the Body of Christ and the diversity of its many members. There are many references and passages from scriptures that we may not be able to cover all in this one blog, but I would encourage you to keep studying and learning about the ministry of reconciliation and the removal of the dividing walls that Paul explains in the book of Ephesians.

The opposite of oneness and reconciliation is division and competition. The apostle Paul deals with this issue directly in his letter to the Corinthians. Oneness was never supposed to be about uniformity, just like in one body each member is different. Oneness is about loving the diversity and respecting the differences. Oneness is about honoring each other as a unique gift from God.

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” (1 Corinthians 3:1–3, NASB95)

I think that the message is very clear here, division is the proof of the lack of spiritual maturity. Paul was addressing some of the same issues we are facing today among those who say that they are Christians. We all say we are Christians, but we have our own personal preachers, different ways of worshipping, and even beliefs. Later on, Paul uses the example of the different parts of the human body to exemplify the diversity of the Body of Christ. We do not all need to be the same to be one, we do not all need to be functioning the same way to be one. All we need to do is to be connected to the same Head, which is Christ, and be working together and love one another.

Oneness does not mean we all need to be doing the same thing and act the same. It means that we love and respect one another, recognizing the differences and diversity between the members of the Body of Christ.

When Paul writes about this, he writes that there are no longer Jews or Gentiles, but we know that we are still either Jews or Gentiles, men or women, slave or free, but in Christ, we are to be One. We can think that our differences can justify division, separation, and judging each other, but nothing can be used to justify division when we want to be aligned with the heart of the priestly prayer, the last moment that Jesus had with His disciples before his crucifixion.

Most of the epistles from the New Testament were written to address the problems that were happening in the churches of the first century. If you study the context of each letter, and each book of the New Testament, you will find out that there were social, racial, religious, and cultural issues causing disputes and divisions among the early believers. The same message is applicable to the Church today. We may have differences, but we are supposed to walk in unity and love one another.

Hebrews 5:12-14

Galatians 5:13-26

Ephesians 4

2 Corinthians 5:14-21

Galatians 3:27-29

Ephesians 2