Unity, unity, unity, everyone wants unity! Families thrive in it, businesses depend upon it, political parties win with it, but what about the Lord’s church? Did Jesus and his apostles want unity and at what cost? Should the truth be compromised for unity sake? Paul pleaded for unity, but unity in what? “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).
The Lord knew that a positive stand for the truth would cause division. He said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father and the daughter against her mother and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that takes not his cross and follows after me is not worthy of me.”
Jesus did not mean that He takes delight in causing strife. But He demands total obedience to what He said, and that kind of obedience will cause divisions in families. We have seen it happen many times. It will also divide churches when there are those in the churches who put the truth ahead of everything else, while the vast majority are determined that the church engage in practices for which they can give no scriptural authority for the things they say and do. In such cases brethren who respect the truth will separate themselves. When they do, they will be maligned, ridiculed, and ostracized. Every effort will be made to break down their resistance and bring them back. This is just a part of the price you pay for being loyal to the truth above everything else. Paul said, “. . . all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). I surely do not envy these fainthearted brethren who are more afraid of brotherhood sentiment than they are the wrath of God.
Truly, to be united in truth is a pleasant thing to witness. David said it better than I when he wrote, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Ps 133:1). However, unity at the cost of truth is only being united with Satan and false doctrines. When we go by the scriptures for all that we say and do, there will be no divisions. It is when we abide by the doctrines and commandments of men that divisions occur, for such will turn us from the truth of God (Tit 1:14). If we truly love God we will keep his commandments (Jn 14:15). If we love God we will continue in the doctrine of Christ and his apostles (Jn 8:31,32 ff; Acts 2:42; 2 Jn ). If we love God we will not go beyond that which was written (1 Cor 4:6). Truth supersedes unity when the cost of unity is the truth of God!