Romans 16 17I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
Division is a great enemy for all of us. Division will separate families for a lifetime, churches will split over divisions, and different parts of our country will divide over politics even to the point they will try to destroy each other over their differences. Same country, all are Americans, yet we hate each other because we don’t agree.
Division is a result of sin. Our sinful natures are not forgiving, nor do we naturally look to reconcile with others. We like to think we are right and stay the course to divide rather than reconcile.
One thing I have learned over the years is that our divisions will expose what we really believe. We will divide over our passions and decide that it is better to separate over our differences rather than trying to figure out ways to bring about reconciliation. Reconciliation simply means we want to find ways to accept one another without the interference of those things that divide us.
For example, God loves us and reconciles us regardless of the sin that separates us from Him. Remember sin separates us or divides us from God:
Isaiah 59:2 It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.
God shows us that we can be reconciled and still have issues in our lives that divide us. We may have differing opinions, but we don’t have to allow issues to divide us. In other words, what is more powerful … our divisions or the love of God? That is why grace is so powerful. It allows us to go beyond division to find the common ground of love and allows grace to be the bargaining agent in bringing about reconciliation between our divisions. As Christians, nothing should separate us from God’s grace and His love. The Apostle Paul told us:
Romans 8 35Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” 37No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing should divide us from God or His love. There are a lot of things listed here that divide us, but God promises us that it doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to divide. It may mean we don’t always agree, but we don’t divide. Our divisions submit to God’s grace and love, and in the end, we reconcile our differences … we should not be separated because we all belong to God.
Belonging to God brings a whole new perspective on the matter of division. Am I operating in division because God wants me to do so, or is my division about me? That is the question you have to ask. Is my division about me, or is it about God? Is it about the compromise of sin and is it my desire to get my way? We all know slavery has always been wrong, but in Paul’s day, slavery was real. In fact, instead of arguing about the evils of slavery, he told those who were serving masters to honor them:
Colossians 3:22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
The Apostle Paul wasn't endorsing slavery, he was only trying to encourage servants of God to live in God's Grace and His love and serve people regardless of their status in life. Paul did not want to divide people over slavery, he wanted people to serve in spite of it. That could be true with so many issues in our day. We divide over race, politics, or even the vaccination issues, but God does not want us to divide and find ways to bring the honor back to Him in finding ways to be at peace.
Is there a time to divide? Sure, when we are told we can no longer honor God and obey His Word. When society says that God is no longer worthy to be praised, worshipped, or followed … then we must divide from the evil of those demands.
God wants us to honor Him, and we don't honor Him when we live in division yet call ourselves Christians. Honoring God means we reconcile our differences and live in His grace with each other. We don't need to divide over being vaccinated or not vaccinated, there are good arguments for both. Let's trust that God is bigger than our divisions, and don't let the latest controversy keep us from giving grace and love to each other. Believe me, our divisions are not worth losing God’s peace.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler