It’s quite amazing to witness members of the body of Christ who are divided over trivial things. Some are divided over hair, cups, and veils. Others are divided over things like institutionalism, fellowship halls, and sponsoring churches.
Yet, what is more confusing is not necessarily what divides us, as opposed to what unites us. The gospel of Christ is the only thing that should unite us, but imagine what happens when we are united in error. Yes, error unites more churches than does the truth. This can be witnessed in denominations and churches of Christ who have fallen away from the truth. They are united together and function as though the truth is present with them. Let us take a look at unity in error.
UNITED IN FAITH ONLY
There are those who are united in the belief of faith only. These are the ones who are united in the belief that one is saved by believing Jesus is the Christ, and nothing more. They are saved absent of the church. They are saved absent of repentance. They are saved absent of baptism. They are saved absent of faithfulness unto death.
These are the ones who walk the Roman road while neglecting the path of Jesus and his apostles. Acts 2:42ff; 1 Cor 11:1; 1 Pet 2:21 They readily quote “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph 2:8,9 Yet they neglect reading one more verse: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph 2:10
It’s true we can’t be saved by our own works, but its totally false to believe we are not saved by the works of God. James stated it as plainly as anyone. The demons believed and tremble. Jam 2:19 Faith without works is dead. Jam 2:20 Mankind is justified by works, and NOT FAITH ONLY. Jam 2:24 If we are justified by works then the question must be answered: What Works? The works of man, or the works of God? Jesus said that faith in and of itself was defined as a work of God. Jn 6:28,29 Titus wrote we are not saved by our works of righteousness, but by baptism, which Paul wrote was a work of God. Tit 3:5; Col 2:11,12 This same baptism Peter wrote saves us today. 1 Pet 3:21
UNITED IN SPRINKLING
Catholics sprinkle, as opposed to immersion, and are united in this error. They say if a person were incapacitated, they couldn’t be immersed. Thus, sprinkle them, and call it baptism. They say, all were born sinful flesh. Rom 8:3 Thus, infant babies must be sprinkled.
All Christian converts were immersed, and no one in the New Testament was sprinkled. God gave no secondary way for anyone to be baptized. Secondly, infants don’t qualify for baptism, nor do they have the capacity to believe, or repent which are all perquisites for baptism. Jn 8:24ff; Mt 10:32,33; Lk 13:3
UNITED IN INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC
Many denomination are united in the use of instruments of music. They will state that because the bible didn’t say not to use instruments of music, that they are allowed to do it. Just imagine all the evil things one can do with that doctrine. They say that singing sounds so much better with the aid of music.
The apostle Paul said that we are to sing, and make music in our hearts to the Lord. Eph 5:19 Luke said that God is not worshiped or served with human hands. Acts 17:25 God is only worshiped in Spirit and in truth. Jn 4:22-24 Therefore, to worship God with the use of instruments of music is not how God desires to be worshiped. He desires us to use our voices to sing praises to him, even as we pray with the Spirit, and sing with the understanding also. 1 Cor 14:15
Conclusion: Almost anything can unite people. All one needs to do to prove this is to look into clubs and organizations in the world. All the churches of Christ are to be united as Paul commanded. He said, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Cor 1:10 Yet, Paul also wrote, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” 2 Cor 6:14
Yet we can only be united in God’s Word, in the common salvation which Jude spoke concerning. Jude 3 Paul wrote to the Ephesians to keep the unity of the Spirit and the faith. Eph 4:3,13 He went on to say that there is only ONE FAITH. Eph 4:4-6 This is the same common faith, and the same like precious faith which the scriptures verify. Jude 4f; 2 Pet 1:1 This was the same faith that every Christian convert was saved by in the New Testament. Every Christian convert after hearing the gospel of Christ (1 Cor 15:1-4) believed and confessed before man. Rom 10:9,10. All repented and were baptized into Christ. Acts 2:38 And all who were saved continued in the apostolic doctrine, also known as the doctrine of Christ. Acts 2:42f; 2 Jn 9
It is true that the wicked are united in error, bound in the traditions and commandments of men, which is pure vanity with God. Mt 15:7-9 However, only New Testament Christians are united by the gospel and doctrine of Christ. Let us never be united in error, but rather let us be united in the truth of God.