Does it ever just get to you? Have you ever read the words “Unity in the Spirit” and thought, does that really mean everyone, no matter what they believe? Does it only apply for certain belief systems? Does that mean only the people who believe the same exact way I believe? Is there a standard that can't be disputed? Why does the Bible seem so clouded in some areas? Why isn't it all just plain and clear and straightforward?
Have you ever thought that perhaps it is clear and plain and straightforward and the problem lies with us and our understanding or lack thereof?
I’m certain I am not the only one who has wondered about why there are so many denominations! Don't we all share the same basic belief premises?
· That in the beginning God Created the Heavens and the Earth
· That Jesus is the Savior Who died to pay the penalty of all sin for all people
· That obedience to God is the surest way to blessings in this life now and Eternally after physical death occurs
And then all the divergent thought processes begin.
You must be dipped in water; You must be sprinkled with water blessed by a clergyman; You must be fully submerged in a tub of water; You must be baptized to be considered Saved and able to enter Heaven at your death on earth; Baptism is only a symbol and doesn’t play a significant role in Salvation or eligibility for Heaven
You must repeat this set of words in this way to pray; You must pray straight from the heart; You mustn't be repetitious in prayer; You must pray out loud; You must pray silently; You must pray privately in a closet or closed room; You must pray corporately
You must accept Christ as Savior and confess Him Lord; (wait, there is scripture that clearly supports that doctrine. Romans 10: 9-10)
You can’t wear makeup or cut your hair if you are female; Outward things are not important for God looks on the HEART, not the flesh; You must dress this way; You must dress that way; How you dress has no bearing on where you stand with God, it is only the spiritual connection that is significant in relation to where you stand with God
You must bow before a statue; You must not bow before a statue; You must NOT have graven images of any kind (oh, yea first commandment Exodus 20:4) Symbols and pictures and statues are fine; Symbols and pictures and statues are satanic and distract from worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth; How you Worship isn’t significant but only that you Worship; God accepts many forms of Worship; God only accepts these certain types and styles of Worship
There must be music for Worship; There must not be music for Worship; It must be this type of music to be Worship; it doesn't matter what type of music you choose;
Dancing is a sin; Dancing is not a sin (David danced in Worship before the Lord, was he sinning? Some say yes and that's why his wife despised him. Others say no and that's why he took a new wife and forsook Michal)
You will act this way; You will not act that way and on and on and on with many rules and regulations, most of which can be proven and/or dis-proven depending on which scripture you read and how you read it and what version of the bible publication you happen to be reading.
I believe the Bible clearly states several doctrine that are set in stone.
1. There is clearly a blessing, a reward to believing God. Hebrews 11:6 addresses this simply. To come to God at all starts with believing that He exists AND that He rewards those who seek Him.
2. We are Saved through Jesus. Acts 2:21 and Romans 1:13 clearly indicate salvation comes to any and all who call on the Name of Jesus. Romans 10:9-10 again speaks of confession of Jesus as Lord and believing in our heart that God raised Him from the dead.
3. There are certain obedience behaviors expected to show themselves as evidence in the lives of those who profess to be Gods children. James 2:14 speaks clearly to committing actual works that line up with our confession to trusting in and having faith toward God. It isn’t enough to confess, there must be evidence in our actions.
4. None of us gets it right all the time. 1John 1:8 leaves no room for doubt that we all sin, but that repentance with confession to the Lord gains us forgiveness. Not just at the first instance of salvation, but throughout our lives from there forward, as we sin, we repent, we ask forgiveness and we receive that forgiveness.
Why then all the infighting and disunity in what is supposed to be, according to Ephesians 4, one unified Body of Christ? In 1Corinthians 9:19 and on, Apostle Paul speaks of being all things to all people. This section of scripture in Corinthians covers a lot of if not all the reasons there are so many "denominations" with different practices. Stop and think, and I believe you will see the sense of it.
None of us is exactly the same as others of us. We all want and actually need different things in order to feel "right" in ourselves. We need different experiences we can respond to and be comfortable with.
Some personality types need tight structure to thrive and be fulfilled. Others crave far less restrictions in order to thrive and fulfill our purpose. Some people must have excitement and change on a regular basis to suit their hearts desires. Other people prefer the steady stability of sameness and feel best when they've planted deep roots. While some people desire traditional ceremonial behaviors to feel close to God, others simply must try new and unique things to achieve that sense of unity and closeness to Him.
The point is that we are all wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalm 139) each of us with unique characteristics and personalities. There is nothing boring or bad or wrong, there is just the joy of all the infinitely diverse ways God has seen fit to bless us!
We are blessed in that God makes room for all of it. There is a framework within which it all works; boundaries that when kept to, allow for all the freedom we could ever ask for to explore and experiment and find our own comforting space; the way to Worship and serve and honor and fully enjoy fellowship with the Lord our Creator.
The TRUTH sets those boundaries, not us.
We with all our human failure in the flesh have decided that those who don't think or act or dress or perform like us are not part of the unified Body with us. We find it very difficult to let go of our need to control and our ego that insists on being "right".
The TRUTH tells us that those who put their faith in God, trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior and their lives show some kind of evidence of those beliefs are all part of ONE BODY OF CHRIST.
The rest? The Worship styles, the times and places of gathering, the ceremonial stuff? Shouldn't be the focus. These are all flesh based acts designed to bring us to the Spiritual. Using these things against us is how the devil divides and conquers us.
We can stop him cold in his tracks so easily.
Keep our eyes on Jesus. Love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and Love our Neighbors as ourselves.
Who cares if they use bread or crackers or wafers of some kind to celebrate Communion? Or if they call it the Lords Supper? Focusing on such insignificant and unimportant things is to be deceived out of enjoying fellowship in the Spirit with Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
Go back and read the scriptures, not with an eye toward proving your personal thought process, but with a heart humbled that asks God to show you His truth. I think you may come away very, very blessed.
When we seek out those who believe in God and confess Jesus as Savior and accept them as we want to be accepted, we will find STRENGTH and UNITY and BLESSINGS. We don't have to act the same, to be of the same BODY. In fact, those differences are one of the things that strengthen the Body. Everyone has their own gift, their own ability that serves a unique purpose that blesses the whole Body of Christ.
And in that unity and strength, I know, because God declares it is so, that we will find VICTORY THROUGH JESUS, individually and as a Body. Here in America there is outcry by some for restoring our nation. This is how we will find strength as a nation.
Because - "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" Psalm 33:12
You are very welcome to click on Comments and share your thoughts. God bless us, everyone!