When one preaches the truth of God in its plainness and simplicity one will present the gospel of peace. Indeed God is a God of mercy, peace and grace in that divine forgiveness provides such. However, there are conditions to be met by humanity before one can be recipients of divine forgiveness. When God’s conditions of forgiveness and peace are rejected war with God ensues.
There is a peace authorized by God and there is a peace unauthorized by him.
Within the context of Matthew chapter 10 we find that under the limited commission of Christ there was no way peace could exist between Judaism and God if the Jews rejected God’s divine requirements of peace. As we consider the divine principles of New Testament truth today, there is no way for peace to exist between those who obey Christ and those who reject him.
A great many find this fundamental concept very shocking, however it is none the less true that God requires a certain type of division. Our responsibility is to ascertain truth. We must accept and live by God’s standard of unity. When we so live such will bring about division. There are those who desire peace at any price. They are negative of anything that does not come under the purview of their open fellowship practices of unity in diversity. They desire to sweep all our differences under some nonexistent rug and then deny that unity finds its very existence upon the basis of divine truth. Yet due to their attitude of a pseudo-unity, spiritual Zion is drowning beneath the encroaching flood waters of error and compromise.
Individuals make peace with Christ and his obedient followers today by their acceptance of and obedience to the gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16-17). Therefore fellowship with God and his people is conditional. Such is conditional not only upon the basis of following God’s spiritual laws of inclusion in becoming a Christians, but also in faithfulness to the Lord (Acts 2:42; 1 John 1:7; 2 John 9-11). It is thus possible to have obeyed the gospel of Christ, yet because of unfaithfulness be outside the Lord’s approval and fellowship. Faithful followers of Christ both as individuals and as local churches recognize that God has drawn lines of fellowship and that because of sin division is inevitable.
Such was realized upon the establishment of the Missionary Society, the acceptance of denominational baptism, the introduction of mechanical instrumental music in worship, the introduction of the false system of Premillennialism, the pseudo-unity effort of Ketchersideism, the New Unity movement, the Para-church movement, and now the encroaching efforts of big centralized efforts to control local churches under a single ruling and controlling eldership to popularize some pet project in that of raising money. When one considers the dangers of popularizing false doctrine and unauthorized practices in religion one will readily take note of the danger of pseudo-unity.
The type of division discussed in contrast to false unity. As we carefully study Matthew 10:34-39 and Luke 12:51-53 we correctly conclude that the words of Christ are not contradictory, but rather are paradoxical when considered in light of true Biblical unity and fellowship (John 17:11-21; 8:32; 1 John 1:1-3). The only type of unity God authorizes is unity in truth.
Because of Christ we find division within homes. Our Lord spoke of this concept in the text used as the basis for our study (Matt. 10:34-39). Not all during the first century came to accept and obey God’s truth. Even within the confines of the family unity did all obey the Lord. The same is true today. Even within the Lord’s church, as we look at families, some family members are Christians and others may be religious, but are religiously wrong. Some may be Christians, i.e., members of the church, yet go beyond the doctrine of Christ in violation of 2 John 9-11 and have a broader concept of fellowship than authorized by the scriptures. When the faith of God recognize the line that God has drawn, this brings about division—division that is demanded by God.
The application of this divine principle regarding division that God demands. As previously noted there is a type of division that is sinful and that is condemned by God:
Denominationalism (1 Cor. 1:10-16).
Seditions (Gal. 5:20).
Those responsible for causing division by the promotion and/or practice of false doctrine or unauthorized practices (Rom. 16:17-18).
As we have already noted there are various type of division, when accomplished, will bring about the purity of the New Testament church:
Separation from unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14-18).
Separation from those who are immoral (1 Cor. 5).
Separation from those who practice heresy (Titus 3).
Separation from compromise (Eph. 5:1-11).
Separation from false teachers and false teaching (2 John 9-11).
When one correctly understands the New Testament principles of unity one will also understand when God demands division. Unity is not the single most crucial
priority of God’s will and intent. Throughout the aspect of Biblical revelation we note divine approval of division in opposition to sin and approved unity based upon divine truth (Eph. 4:1-15). May God grant us the courage to always stand for truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.