Let's strive to 'keep the unity of the Spirit'

June 5, 2018

Recently, I heard Dr. Chuck Register from our Baptist state convention staff preach a message from Ephesians 4:1-3 in which he spoke of the biblical plea for spiritual unity within the body of Christ. Building on some of his admonition, I would like to encourage and challenge North Carolina Baptists to be a Christlike influence and model the spirit of unity within our Baptist associations, churches and even our Southern Baptist Convention.

Recent events have revealed that many conservative Southern Baptists are divided over doctrinal interpretations, issues within the local church, a generational gap, racial and diversity issues, and more.

Yet, in spite of our divisions often because of differences in opinions and personal preferences, the apostle Paul strongly appeals to us in Ephesians 4:3 to “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” The effort which God’s Word calls us to invest in order to keep the unity is effort that requires work and even exertion on our part. Yet the interesting thing is that the unity Paul speaks of is one that we can’t muster up on our own. According to Galatians 5:16, the unity of the Spirit can be observed in us if we are walking in the Spirit.

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

While this spirit of unity is a supernatural work, it is also one that we must strive to obtain by yielding our will to God’s Spirit. Ephesians 4:3 brings to mind Paul’s letter to the Romans in which he wrote, “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).

So how can we possess and live out this unity? The context of Ephesians 4 provides us with the answer in verse two. It involves humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance and love. I believe each of these attributes builds upon the other. It’s hard to be gentle, patient, tolerant and loving if we are not manifesting the kind of humility Christ exemplified as stated in Philippians 2:5-8.

What does humility involve? It involves having a humble opinion of one’s self by crushing our own pride. It also involves having an appropriate degree of Christ-awareness and an appropriate degree of self-awareness. Keeping those two perspectives in balance will go a long way in helping us maintain a humble attitude and move us closer toward unity.

We would do well to remember what is of supreme importance to followers of Christ. Our attitudes and spoken words should be under the control of Christ instead of our old fleshly nature. What is most important to us should be what brings the most glory to the name of our Lord and Savior and builds up the body of Christ.

As you prepare to attend the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting June 12-13 in Dallas, Texas, I pray that you will examine your motives before you use unkind words and express negative opinions about another brother or sister in Christ. I urge you to live by God’s truth as stated in Ephesians 4:1-3. Strive for unity in the bond of Christian love even when others around you are ignoring God’s command in this passage of Scripture.


by Milton A Hollifield Jr. 
 /  Executive Director-Treasurer  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

NC Baptists highlight church planting, ‘Who’s Your One?’

GREENSBORO, N.C. — North Carolina Baptists commissioned more than 100 church planters and were called to prioritize personal evangelism during their 189th annual meeting held Nov. 11-12 at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center. The meeting drew 1,387 messengers and included two...

Annual Meeting day 2 highlights

More than 1,300 messengers from Baptist churches across North Carolina gathered at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, N.C., on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 11-12 for the 189th annual Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) Annual Meeting. The theme of...

NC Baptists approve budget, pass bylaw amendments

N.C. Baptists approved a $30.5 million Cooperative Program (CP) budget for 2020 that increases the percentage allocation to the missions and ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) for the 14th consecutive year. Despite an overall budget reduction of $500,000,...

Hollifield: ‘Get engaged in God’s great work’

Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) Executive Director-Treasurer Milton A. Hollifield Jr. exhorted North Carolina Baptists to “get engaged in God’s great work” during his address to messengers on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the 2019 Annual Meeting in Greensboro. Evoking...

Annual Meeting day 1 highlights

More than 1,000 messengers from Baptist churches across North Carolina gathered at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, N.C., on Monday, Nov. 11 for the opening session of the 189th annual Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) Annual Meeting. The...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the latest news and event information by signing up for the N.C. Baptist newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!