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April 10, 2024: Unity through the Word

I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me.” (John 17:20–21, CSB) 

Jesus, on the night He was arrested, prayed for the unity of His Church. But unity can only be built on commonality. United as what? By what? If we look back at the 17th verse, we discover that this unified people are a sanctified people: Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” Unity is God’s gift to His set-apart people. We are made His children as He embraces us in love. We are unified as those who love the God who has revealed Himself to us. We are unified as those who now have been adopted as His children.

But heresy and idolatry sometimes infiltrate the Church. We are tempted to revise God’s word to fit the culture around us. This is seen today in once great denominations who readily accept heresy and promote abortion and sexual immorality. This redefinition of God and His word is heresy by its very definition. No servant can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other….” (Luke 16:13, CSB)

When faced with a similar impetus to kowtow to political pressure in 1934, the Confessional Synod of the German Evangelical Church wrote these words in opposition to the syncretism of the German Church with Nazism:

"In view of the errors of the 'German Christians' of the present Reich Church government which are devastating the Church and are also thereby breaking up the unity of the German Evangelical Church, we confess the following evangelical truths: 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.' (John 14:6). 'Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber ... I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved.' (John 10:1, 9.)Jesus Christ, as he is attested for us in Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God which we have to hear and which we have to trust and obey in life and in death.

We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church could and would have to acknowledge as a source of its proclamation, apart from and besides this one Word of God, still other events and powers, figures and truths, as God's revelation."

Unity as God’s gift is the direct fruit of being embraced by the love of God. For that love that has embraced us, now transforms us. And as a transformed Church, we now change the world!

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