Friday, November 18, 2022

Unity and Purity (Psalm 133)

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Ps. 133).

Psalm 133 shows us the importance of maintaining unity among God’s people. Yet unity must not be achieved at the expense of purity. When divisions occur, the cause resides not in those who challenge error but those who propagate error.

David shows us that the church should make every effort to maintain peace, forgiveness, and tolerance while remaining faithful to Christ. “There can be no doubt that the Holy Ghost is to be viewed as commending in this passage that mutual harmony which should subsist amongst all God’s children, and exhorting us to make every endeavor to maintain it,” Calvin wrote. “So long as animosities divide us, and heart-burnings prevail amongst us, we may be brethren no doubt still by common relation to God, but cannot be judged one so long as we present the appearance of a broken and dismembered body. As we are one in God the Father, and in Christ, the union must be ratified amongst us by reciprocal harmony, and fraternal love.

“We are bound to receive into our brotherly embraces all such as cheerfully submit themselves to the Lord. We are to set ourselves against those turbulent spirits which the devil will never fail to raise up in the church, and be sedulous to retain intercourse with such as show a docile and tractable disposition. But we cannot extend this intercourse to those who obstinately persist in error, since the condition of receiving them as brethren would be our renouncing Him who is Father of all, and from whom all spiritual relationship takes its rise.… Men are to be united amongst themselves in mutual affection, with this as the great end, that they may be placed together under the government of God. If there be any who disagree with these terms, we would do well rather to oppose them strenuously, than purchase peace at the expense of God’s honor.

“Let us then, as much as lies in us, study to walk in brotherly love, that we may secure the divine blessing. Let us even stretch out our arms to those who differ from us, desiring to bid them welcome if they will but return to the unity of the faith. Do they refuse? Then let them go. We recognize no brotherhood … except amongst the children of God.”

Read Ephesians 4. Do you cause strife by gossiping, holding onto bitterness, promoting bad teaching, being intolerant of those who are different? Perhaps you have broken from a fellow believer over a petty issue. Ask God to give you grace and humility to seek out this believer and restore unity with the bond of peace.