nity is always a priority for the kingdom of God (Zechariah 14:9
). Working for unity is never easy. It involves overcoming opposition, going against the stream, bridging differences between people, fighting against the devil (Luke 11:16-17
). It is painful, because it involves getting close to people who have hurt us. Yet unity is necessary for the good of everyone.
We must strive for unity. Here are a few translations of Ephesians 4:3 about how to keep the unity of the Spirit:
Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit (KJ); Giving diligence… (AS); Make an effort to preserve… (CE); Eager to maintain… (ES); Work hard to live together as one… (NL); Strive earnestly to guard the oneness… (Amp).
Part of the effort of reaching unity is communication. It takes much communication to work out differences of opinion. Communication can be exhausting. Yet covenantal dialogue and discussion is the work of coming to unity. Sin causes misunderstanding and confusion. We are striving to reverse the “curse” of the tower of Babel.
Another reason is men’s ambition. Many people want to get ahead for their own benefit, so they separate from others. Striving for ambition prevents one from striving for unity. Where there is pride and ambition, separation and division are often the result (Proverbs 18:1).
Demand for Unity
Recently, we have seen how difficult it is for PM Netanyahu to gain unity to establish a coalition for his government. If there is no unity, there will be no coalition; if there is no coalition, there will be no government. As Netanyahu’s government depends on unity of the parties, so does Yeshua’s kingdom depend on unity in the Body of Messiah.
There is a parallel between the nation of Israel and the Body of Messiah. As the government coalition demands unity among the political leaders, so does Yeshua’s kingdom demand unity among spiritual leaders. (This is why the call to unity of Ephesians 4:3 is followed by the “five-fold” leadership and its role in bringing the Body to unity and maturity in Ephesians 4:11-15.)
The Hebrew words for conference Kenes, parliament Knesset, church Kn’ssiah and synagogue Bet Knesset all come from the same root כנס – meaning “to bring inside, to gather together.”
Unity for God’s Kingdom is found within the Church (John 17:23), within Israel (Ezekiel 37:22), and also between the Church and Israel (this is why the unity of Ephesians 4:3 is preceded by the unity of Jew and Gentile in Ephesians 2:14-16; 3:3-6). As the covenant unity between man and woman gives birth to a child, so does the covenant unity between Israel and the Church give birth to the kingdom of God on earth (Romans 11:12-26).