A HARD TO HEAR MESSAGE
Does the Bible actually say be of one mind? Is that possible? Only if there is a God, and only if He can fill His people with His Holy Spirit and with power. There are a few more “if’s” in the scripture where this truth is found. “Therefore if you have any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, then make my joy complete by being of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1, 2)
It is safe to say that when brothers are of differing minds, that they do not have in mind all the grace that is being bestowed upon them. They are not mindful of how God has encouraged them to live in unity and love through Christ. They are not mindful of Jesus’s high priestly prayer in John 17 and His call for oneness, that their calling is to be affectionate toward their brothers.
Just prior to Jesus being led away to His death on the cross, He interceded for His disciples, it could be referred to as the prayer of a dying man. In John 17, what is referred to as His High Priestly prayer, two basic truths are repeated by Him, shedding light on them from several different angles. The two truths are first, the oneness that Jesus, the Son of God, has had with God the Father through all eternity, and second, that all those redeemed by the sufferings of Christ should share in that same oneness.
It is when this will of God is lived out in the lives of those who are called by His name, that the world can see they belong to Him. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) Now that’s a big if.
So what is the Apostle referring to when he says, be of one mind? By way of interpretation Lighfoot says, Live in unity among yourselves, (Barclay) for my desire is that you should be in full agreement, (NIV and NKJV) by being like-minded, (Darby) that ye may think the same thing, (Phillips) Live together in harmony… , and (Amp) by… living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose.
John MacArthur explains that “Paul is not talking here about doctrine or moral standards. In this context, being of the same mind means to actively strive to achieve common understanding and genuine agreement. A few verses later, the apostle declares that the only way to have such harmony is to “have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5). Through God’s Word and the indwelling Holy spirit, believers can know the very “mind of Christ” (1Cor 2:16). (MacArthur, J. Philippians. Chicago: Moody Press)
We should always place oneness of mind at the level that the Bible does. For example, it is important to always work and strive to be thinking alike, as in the case of Elders who make decisions based on unanimity and not majority rule. To do otherwise sets a low standard for the way Christians should live with one another.
So why is there so much division in the church concerning this present election? Answer: God’s people place their own personal priorities before that of their brother in Christ. Every true child of God is called to love God’s will, which means that we all hold as important all the same morality as it is revealed in God’s word. The only difference is our personal knowledge of God’s revealed will in His Word.
Every man in his own place must seek to come to unity of the faith, which means unity of mind. Unity never says that we should agree to disagree, which is a false unity. Dying to self does not mean acquiescing to what another believes, while holding on to your own convictions. God never wants us to compromise our convictions. Unity of mind means dying to what we believe that is false or wrong, changing our mind and believing what is right and true.
Each and every Christian, if they are to obey the admonition of the Apostle in Philippians 2:1, 2 must strive to come into agreement over this present election, so that the church does not look like this present world.
I know the things that I hold to be the most important as stated in my previous blog. I know that not all Christians have the same priorities that I do. However, I do not want to cause any further division in the body, so my plea is that we move toward one another and come to a unity of mind for the glory of God, the pleasure of Him who suffered for us, and by the ministry of the Holy Spirit.