United in Christ

This morning, I read 1 Corinthians 3. If you’re not familiar with this scripture, Paul is talking about how childish the Christians of Corinth were being as they quarreled amongst each other. They would say things like, “I follow Paul.” While others would say, “I follow Apollos.” Paul had some pretty strong words as he tells them he can’t even address them spiritually because they are still so worldly. Ouch! As I read through these verses, it seemed like a ridiculous thing to be arguing about. In reality, who they are in Christ has nothing to do with Paul or Apollos.
The question is: Are we any different? We still see these same quarrels happening among Christians today. Instead of it being Paul or Apollos, though, it’s Foursquare, Baptists, Presbyterian, or maybe it’s even Republican or Democrat. We act as if a denomination or political affiliation makes a difference when it comes to who we are in Christ—as if one is better than another.
There’s one thing that’s true about every denomination, movement, or political affiliation in this world: they are each wrong in one way or another. Now, I can’t tell you how or where they each fall short, but none of them have it completely right. No one denomination, movement, or political affiliation has perfect ideas or beliefs. I know there are those who may disagree with this. But if no person is perfect, then no denomination or affiliation is perfect.
So why do we put our trust in denominations and political affiliations? Why do we claim these titles in the same way the people of Corinth did? I’m guessing if Paul were addressing the Church today, he would probably be saying these same things to many of us.
God is the only One Who’s perfect and He is the only One in Whom we should place our trust. I’m not saying it’s bad to align with any denomination or affiliation. In fact, I believe there are great things about the many denominations we see in our communities today. And I believe that both Republicans and Democrats have good causes worth backing. But we aren’t called to follow denominations or political affiliations: we’re called to follow Jesus. And we are Christ followers first.
If we’re letting denominational or political lines keep us from linking arms and uniting together to see His Kingdom extended, then we aren’t being the Church that God has called us to be. Jesus said in John 13:35: “…everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” God’s desire for us is that we love one another. Unity in the body of Christ can change our world, not to mention the fact that Jesus said it is how others will know we belong to Him.
Listen to what the final verses from Paul in 1 Corinthians 3 might sound like in today’s language: So then, no more boasting about denominations or political affiliations! All things are yours, whether Foursquare, Baptist, or another denomination, whether Democrat or Republican, whether the world or life or death or the present or the future–all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God. As followers of Jesus we are all of Christ. So, let’s come together as THE CHURCH and truly be the united force that God has called us to be in this world!

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