“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous.”
all of you be of one mind
The first challenge is in the category of our attitude. God wants all Christians to be of “one mind.” This is not uniformity of thinking where everyone gets into line with how everyone else thinks. This is the farthest thing from Peter’s mind. Diversity of viewpoint is a valid Christian value.
God does not desire Christians to have same opinions but same attitudes. His aim is not uniformity or same formulas of thinking. The idea here is under diversity of opinion have common loyalty to the Lord Jesus. As in the human body there is variety (eyelash, toenail, liver and bone structure) and unity of body, so the church has both variety and unity. This is unity in variety, not sameness of similarity. The church is an organism, not primarily an organization.
Mt 5: 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.”
This is likeness of disposition or sentiment rather than opinion. Christians can disagree as to methods but we are to agree in spirit. Unanimity requires us to strike at the root of the matter. Such unity is not the product of indifference. This is spiritual unity. As a rope of iron filings holds together by a magnet so spiritual unity comes from the magnet of who Christ is and what he did for us.
Ro 14: 19 “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”
PRINCIPLE: God does not want the drab uniformity of bureaucrats but a dynamic unity held together by overwhelming loyalty to Christ.
APPLICATION: In our bodies we have a mussel called the “adductor.” The adductor draws one part of the body toward one another. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ. His work is to draw Christians together.
In the realm of music there must be harmony for music to be delightful to our ears. Discord is hard on the ears. God wants Christians to be like a well-tuned piano. If a piano gets out of tune, this will result in discord and discord offends. Discord, dissatisfaction and murmuring damage the church. Two things are hard on the heart. 1) Running up hill 2) Running down people.
Strife within the church causes more harm than persecution from without. We can explode a whole case of dynamite on top of a rock without doing much damage. However, if we bore a hole in the heart of the rock and insert one stick of dynamite we will blow that rock of smithereens.
One of the reasons there is such fragmentation in evangelicalism is that if we are not satisfied in one church we can go to another. That is latitude and freedom. No one needs to be unhappy in a church that does not fit our style. If we do not like the music in one church we can go to another. If we do not like the preaching in one church then we can go to another church. If we like a less formal service we can go where we will find it. There we will be a blessing and we can rest at ease. We will cooperate and live in harmony with the church we choose. There they can harness us to serve without being grieved or handicapped.
Here is God’s formula for spiritual unity: in essentials: harmony; in nonessentials: latitude.