By Michael V. Wilson
There are supposed to be differences, visible differences, between Christians and all others if we are to be true to our calling and election in Christ. We should be talking and acting in a manner obviously distinct from carnal people of the world who are unsaved and unrepentant. We know this because the Apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, told us so in a short, often misunderstood passage in 1st Corinthians 3:23,
For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?
Please notice how acting with “envy, strife, and divisions” are associated with mere men, Paul's term or phrase to include all those who have not been saved by the grace of God through Christ. We see it play out every day in the streets of the cities of the world, and in the open countrysides where mere men wage war on each other without end, the bombing in Manchester, England being only the latest example.
There are many divisions among the mere men of the world; Muslim versus Secular, politician (or media) versus citizen, black versus white, LGBTQ versus heterosexual, etc., etc., etc. These divisions are the cause of envy and unending strife. When there are divisions in the Church we become just like them, and therefore useless to the Kingdom.
The difficultly lies in the fact the world has invaded the Church and corrupted it. We have entire denominations where homosexuals and their behavior (among countless other sins) is celebrated in direct violation of Scripture, yet when we dare point it out, we're accused of being divisive, bigoted, and hateful; such accusations are a blatant attempt to use the Bible against us in an effort to silence us.
All too often the endeavor is successful as too many Christians mistakenly believe we're supposed to be non-confrontational, or inoffensive, or both.
But the Gospel itself, by it's very nature, is offensive to mere men.
The truth is, there should be no envy, strife, or divisions among true Christians; blood-bought, born-again Christians, saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Among these there should be no conflict at all.
But . . . and this is where many Christians stumble . . . there will always be envy, strife, and divisions between us and mere men. It's nothing to be ashamed of, or avoided. In fact, if there aren't divisions between us and them, it means there's a division between us and God.
I'd much rather be divided from mere men. What about you?