December 13, 2015 by Carly Smyly
As Christians, we are a family (Ephesians 2:19), a city (Ephesians 2:19), and a holy sanctuary (Ephesians 2:21). We are united and formed into these communities by Jesus himself. “Together we are a place set apart, a place God loves,” #shereadstruth.
In Ephesians, Paul was specifically writing about the unity between Jews and Gentiles. These were 2 races, 2 people groups united under and covered by Jesus’ blood. Despite their different histories, traditions, understandings, and cultural norms the 2 are 1 in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Divisions cease to exist with Jesus as our foundation.
Jesus came to earth as human to bring faith, hope, love, and peace to the world. ALL PEOPLE. Not just the Jews. Not just the Gentiles. Not just White Americans. Not just Black Americans. Not just Israelis or Latinos. Not just the rich or just the poor. Not just Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists, or Calvinists.
Jesus came to earth as a baby to bring salvation to the world. The whole world. Each and every person in it. This salvation comes the moment we confess that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Each person has the choice to confess this or not. And once we do, we become part of the family of God, part of the city of God, and part of the Holy Sanctuary. We become one with other Christians around the world.
We are the place God’s Spirit dwells. Every gift of the Spirit does not reside within one human. Each of us has been given different gifts to use as a means for sharing and displaying the love of God through Christ for the world…. ALL THE WORLD, ALL NATIONS, ALL PEOPLE.
Our news and Facebook feeds are overrun with articles and posts displaying hate and division in our world. The division comes in all sizes and colors — race, sexuality, nationality, religion, economic status, educational background, gender, political affiliation, age… etc. Everyone is put into a box that someone else made for them, even if it’s a box they don’t fit into. Then hate is heaped upon them.
Unfortunately, Christians are no better than those who profess no faith or another faith. We who say Jesus is our Lord and Savior spew hate along with the world. Of course this is a box I just created and put all Christians into when I know not all of us fit there, or do we?
Be honest with yourself. Do you display the love of Christ to ALL PEOPLE no matter their color, status, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, education, wealth, religion, etc.?
Paul’s call to unity in the letter of Ephesians (and other letters too) is 100% relevant to us today as we address the issues across the world. We are not one with all people until they believe Jesus is who he says he is and they are saved through his life, death, and resurrection, because we are united by under Jesus’ blood. But this doesn’t matter when it comes to love.
We are to love our friends and our enemies. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus didn’t say only to love those who are like us. He says the world will know we are Christians by our love… not our hate, not our division… by our love.
Love brings unity. Love brings hope. Love brings peace. Love brings faith. Jesus is the perfect example of love. He is divine love on display for all the world to see.
What boxes do you put people in?
What prejudice(s) do you struggle with?
How do you create unity? How do you create division?
What will you do in order to better love ALL PEOPLE as Jesus loves you?
Abba, Father, thank you for sending Jesus to earth so that we may experience faith, hope, love, and peace in this lifetime. I confess my prejudice and inability to love perfectly. I confess my contribution to division. I pray that you help me, and my readers, to be conduits of your love and to bring unity to fellow Christians, as well as, ALL PEOPLE in this world. May we help to heal the pain, despair, injustice, and brokenness in this world.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Photo credit: perpendicularity.org