If you have an attitude of love and acceptance toward your brothers and sisters in other churches, you are “keeping the unity” with them. You are not creating it. You are keeping it alive in your own spirit.
That is where unity exists — in the spirit or heart. Unity is manifested in different ways, but it exists in the spirit by means of the Holy Spirit.
Conversely, if you have an attitude of strife, divisiveness or sectarianism, you are not keeping the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
AN INWARD STEP
The only step to unity, then, is found in Romans 14:1 and 15:7: “Accept those whose faith is weak without passing judgment on disputable matters…. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you.”
The word “to accept” means to welcome, embrace, receive — to acknowledge kinship. To accept means to confess and declare the fact that we are one.
We are one because, by the new birth, we have all been born into the same spiritual family. We are all brothers and sisters because Jesus is our Savior, and God is our Father! Just as Jesus received us with all our brokenness, faults, and immaturity, so let us receive one another.
TAKE THE STEP NOW
This one step to unity can be taken right where you are this very moment. You can turn to the Lord right now and pray, “Father, in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord, I do acknowledge that I am a member of Your spiritual body, the church in this city and throughout the world.
“I do accept and receive every one of Your children as my brother or sister because You are our Father. It doesn’t matter where Your children live. It doesn’t matter from what race they come. It doesn’t matter what peculiar beliefs or practices they may have.
“It doesn’t matter if they baptize by sprinkling or by immersion, or whether they are Arminianists or Calvinists. It doesn’t matter if they go to church on Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. It doesn’t matter by what denomination they are named.
“I do now declare, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth the Son of God Almighty, that I am one with every other born-again believer that lives, that has lived, or ever will live in time and in eternity. I will accept them. I will receive them.
“I will love them and support them. I will pray for them. As You direct me, Lord, I will work with them. I will endeavor to keep this unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Amen!”
Will you pray this prayer now? If you can sincerely pray the above prayer, you have taken the one step to unity.
“But,” you may ask, “what about doctrinal unity? How can we walk together unless we agree?”
In the first place, God is not directing us all to walk in the same direction. In the second place, we are told in Ephesians 4:13 that we are to keep this unity of the Spirit “until we all come into the unity of the faith.” This verse is simply saying that we can have spiritual unity while we are coming into doctrinal unity.
ONE CENTRAL TRUTH
There is only one central truth around which we can all declare our unity. That truth is not a teaching, a concept, a principle or a doctrine. It is not a church, denomination or a movement.