3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
If believers hold the attitudinal qualities of verse two, they will experience unity among themselves.
3 endeavoring [earnestly striving] to keep the unity of the Spirit
“Endeavoring” is the word diligent. Christians should be alert to what makes for peace among themselves.
Notice that this phrase does not say “endeavoring to make the unity of the Spirit.” It says “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit.” It is not our responsibility to make unity in the church. The Holy Spirit already made that a reality.
“Unity” here is not organizational unity but spiritual unity. Organizational unity is extrinsic unity, while spiritual unity in intrinsic. It is a unity that comes from the Holy Spirit. The church cannot bring this unity. The Holy Spirit has already given us this unity. This is the unity that the Holy Spirit effects.
in the bond of peace.
Peace is a “bond;” a binding which unites Christians of different types (Co 3:14).
The Holy Spirit binds every believer to every other believer by our position in Christ.
There is a universal unity among Christians everywhere. This is a unity that comes from the Holy Spirit. No church can organize this kind of unity. The church can preserve this unity but not create it. There have been many attempts at ecumenicity by churches but they always fail.
True unity is not imposed; it is a unity of organism rather than organization. Ecumenism has never worked. There is no place for a super-church devoid of denominations. The church already exists spiritually as one. That is what we need to emphasize. We preserve unity rather than create unity.
The unity here is not a unity at all costs. It is anti-biblical to jettison truth for unity.
Unity is not uniformity. Uniformity is conformity that comes from without. Unity comes from within.
Striving to keep unity among believers does not mean that we pretend that there are no differences among us. However, the church should be made up of rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, men and women—red and yellow, black and white. This is the way the church is and should be. The church should cross all boundaries that separate people.
It is true that there are challenges the church must work out together. The jingle often cited goes like this:
To dwell above with saints we love,
O that will be glory
But to dwell below with saints we know,
Well, that’s another story.
Our fallen natures have a tendency to demean others and exalt self. This is fertile ground for friction among the saints. This is a spiritual battle, not an organizational conflict.
The point in this verse is not to produce unity but to keep or maintain unity. This is the unity of the Spirit; He produced this unity by working in the heart of the believer. A unity of the flesh, an outward or extrinsic unity, is a misled form of harmony. Churches binding together by natural rather than supernatural bonds will result in division. It is similar to digging up corpses from the cemetery and placing these bodies in a church. This is a picture of ecumenism today. It is also a picture of political correctness today. All this is a denial to a biblical approach to unity.
Biblical unity does not come from societal organizations that concur on certain structural agreements; the church is an organism, not an organization. Every cell of the body shares the life of the body. Only the Holy Spirit can produce such a body.