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

N.C. Baptist search team looking for visionary, missions-minded leader

Noah Crowe, chair of the search committee to find the next executive leader for North Carolina Baptists, told the Biblical Recorder a "visionary mindset" is one of the "high qualities" the group is looking for among candidates. The search team was formed in July to begin looking...

Living in the Bible Belt doesn’t make you a Christian

I grew up in the Bible Belt. In those days, almost nobody worked on Sundays. We prayed before class, ball games and meals — even in the name of Jesus — whether we believed it or not. We proudly displayed the Ten Commandments in our courthouses — whether we obeyed them or not....

Newly planted cowboy church draws folks from afar

Cool Water Cowboy Church near Sanford is growing. Drive by Hunt Springs Baptist Church’s building south of downtown Sanford and it looks pretty normal. It’s a medium-size brick building with a neatly-trimmed lawn. The church reports having about 155 members — a solid number, but...

An A-to-Z list of things to know about annual meeting

The 2020 annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina will be unlike any other in recent memory. Changes to the time and location, a new online registration process and enhanced health and safety protocols are just a few of the items to be aware of this...

Important information about this year’s annual meeting

Hopefully by now you have heard the news that the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) board of directors voted to hold a one-day, abbreviated annual meeting this year, which will be held Tuesday, Nov. 10, from 1-5 p.m., at First Baptist Church of Charlotte....

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.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

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

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!