Preserving unity in the church matters because of the eternal unity of God! This is the heart of Paul’s exhortation and explanation in Eph. 4:1-6.
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
God designs for every believer to have a deepening sense of our identity as members of His one body, the church. He likewise designs for every believer to actively fulfill our responsibility in making His unity visible in our relationships with one another. New Testament scholar Peter T. O’Brien, in his excellent Commentary on Ephesians, captures the significance of God’s purpose for His people:
“Ultimately, the unity and reconciliation that have been won through Christ’s death (Eph. 2:14-18) are part and parcel of God’s intention of bringing all things together into unity in Christ (Eph. 1:9-10). Since the church has been designed by God to be the masterpiece of his goodness and the pattern on which the reconciled universe of the future will be modeled, believers are expected to live in a manner consistent with this divine purpose. To keep this unity must mean to maintain it visibly. If the unity of the Spirit is real, it must be transparently evident, and believers have a responsibility before God to make sure that this is so. To live in a manner which mars the unity of the Spirit is to do despite (hate, spite, insult) to the gracious reconciling work of Christ. It is tantamount to saying that his sacrificial death by which relationships with God and others have been restored, along with the resulting freedom of access to the Father, are of no real consequence to us!” (O’Brien, pg. 279-280)
Beloved, let’s keep walking in holy love with one another, as those for whom all of God’s redeeming purposes in Christ have great consequence!
Praying with you, and for you, to this end,