"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" - Psalms 133:1 KJV
This scripture is often used for unity, but it is not the unity Jesus spoke of. The unity in the above Old Testament scripture is a type of brotherhood. The unity Jesus speaks of in the New Testament is more like bonding as one. It is coming together into one like a marriage.
The unity Jesus spoke of was the unity of the spirit and the unity of the faith (Ephesians 4:3, 13). The unity in this scripture is the Greek word henotes (Strong's G1775), meaning unanimity or agreement. This unity is an agreement with God's ESSENTIAL Biblical doctrines (the faith).
When Paul was speaking of unity in Ephesians four, he first mentions unity of the spirit and then later unity of the faith, which suggests that to have unity of the faith, we must first have unity of the spirit.
We are to work with the Holy Spirit, asking for truth and for the hidden things to be revealed, allowing the Holy Spirit to bring us into all truth and changing us into the likeness of Christ. When we allow this, the Holy Spirit will reveal what is essential doctrine and what is not.
George Davis of A Wilderness Voice has written an excellent article, "Unity of the Spirit" explaining this unity. He says:
"Insistence upon doctrinal and creedal unity is the primary reason that the family of God is so divided."
There are certain things that we must agree on, but if we allow the Lord to reveal what is essential and what is not, we will be able to come into the unity of the Spirit and the unity of the faith.
God dealt with me early on in my walk concerning this. I was working at a good job, and He asked me to quit my job and go volunteer with a ministry that is Christian but not charismatic. I had no problem obeying his command to go, but I argued, "how can we work together if we don't agree"? He answered, "Many will be surprised at how much they believe to be truth is wrong" and I immediately saw a vision of people in heaven sitting before the throne of God while He explained all the errors of their dogmas and religious ways.
So, I surrendered my security in a good job with good pay and went to the place He told me to go, not knowing if I would be accepted, what I would be doing, or how I would pay my bills. When I met with them, I told them what God had told me to do. They asked me a few questions about my spiritual and work history, then they had a brief private meeting, and when they returned, they offered me a job in the office, with pay! They welcomed me with open arms, and then we sat down together and prayed.
That obedience gave me a better paying job, opportunities to serve God in new and different ways, connections for future ministry, and provided a much-needed lesson in working together despite differences in doctrinal beliefs.
George Davis continues to expound on unity:
"Why do we withhold from others what God has so graciously extended to us? Though we individually fall short of God's glory, we nonetheless expect perfection from each other. God's Holy Spirit is grieved at the untold number of fights spawn from this inordinate ambition to impose our individual perceptions of "the truth" upon others. As for myself, I am not afraid of the truth! It is our opinions regarding the truth which we force upon each other as conditions for fellowship that concerns me."
“And if any man think that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” (1 Corinthians 8:1-2).
Related Article: Doubtful Disputations
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