Three Kinds of Unity

By Owen Cosgrove

      In the beautiful fourth chapter of Ephesians, Paul discusses the unity of the church. In the first seven verses, he writes of intellectual unity — unity of the MIND and understanding built on those seven great foundations of doctrinal concord: one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God (Eph. 4:4-6).

      He also speaks of unity of the HEART, the great need for lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, forbearance, kindness, and forgiveness (Eph. 4:1-3, 31-32).

      Paul also writes of the unity of the WILL with all members working together for a common goal. People can be united in intellect but not in heart. They can be united in heart but not in intellect. And they can be united in heart and intellect but not in will.

      An athletic team may have common understanding of its plays and patterns, and all of the members may consider each other good persons, but until they pull together with a common and concerted will, they will not be successful.

      It takes all three kinds of unity to make the church successful. Unity is like an old three-legged milking stool. If any one leg is missing, the stool no longer works.

      Each of us is responsible for helping the church to do its maximal work. This involves a mature and studied understanding of God’s will, a deep compassion for our brethren, and a willingness to do our part in the Lord’s work well and joyfully. That type of unity will work, and anything short of it hampers the greatest endeavor in the world and our own soul’s salvation.