WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – One of the things we’ll find most striking about life in heaven will be its unity. Unanimity is actually the better word: a complete agreement of all involved. John witnessed this perfect accord in his glimpse into heaven: “I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them say, ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power be to the one seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Rev. 5:13).
There was not a single dissenting voice in the millions upon millions of angelic and human and other creatures surrounding the throne. No self-centered agendas, ambitions, or opinions inspired one worshipper to assert himself against or above another – all found their knees to be the most enviable position before eternal Royalty.
You may have noticed that it’s not quite like that among us in this age. We’re happy if we can find a faction of Christians we can agree with about denomination, theology, leader, or style. Even that “unity” seldom lasts long.
We can do better, dear friends, and much of the New Testament urges us to do so:
“Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope at your calling – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:1-6).
WONDERFUL THING IN MY LIFE – When I’m competitive and contentious with my brothers and sisters, I’m not living worthy of my calling in Christ. Paul urges me – and you – to correct this by a realization and a decision.
We must realize that the only basis for the unity of heaven is the Lordship of Christ. It’s not in everyone coming to my way of thinking. It’s in everyone, including me, coming to His way of thinking – and doing and feeling and relating. The only way we have to learn His ways of thinking, acting, etc., is to discover them in the Word He wrote for that very purpose. When we come to this realization, we have some decisions to make.
We must decide to relate to our brothers and sisters in complete humility, gentleness, and patience (Oh Lord, do this in me!). The fact that these are commands implies that they don’t come naturally. Smallness in me and in those I’m called to love will make this difficult. That’s why we must decide that we will bear with them in love and that we will work hard at maintaining the unity of the Spirit.
It is difficult. However, in the fullness of the Spirit under the Lordship of Christ, I believe it is possible to do better than we’ve done – at least better than I’ve done. The Lord Jesus is counting on this visible unity of Christians for the accomplishment of His mission: “I pray … for those who believe in Me … that they may be made completely one, that the world may know You have sent Me” (John 17:20-23).