May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:5-7
The Greek word translated ‘endurance’ here means “a remaining behind, a patiently enduring”. The Greek word translated ‘encouragement’ here means “a calling for, summons, hence: (a) exhortation, (b) entreaty, (c) encouragement, joy, gladness, (d) consolation, comfort.” The God who is these things of a ‘patience’ that far surpasses human ability and is an ‘encourager’ in the times of deepest despair can GIVE us what we need to ‘live in harmony’ with others — WHEN we are all in unity in Jesus Christ. So that … we then in ‘one voice’ can actually glorify and truly worship God.
This is the picture of what the unity of the Body of Christ should look like. This is a ‘bride’ without ‘spot or wrinkle’. These are the brides READY for Him …who have enough ‘oil’ for when the Bridegroom comes to begin the wedding celebration. How do we get there?
My ONLY solution is the very work of the Holy Spirit within EACH member connected together, all working towards a greater fellowship with Jesus individually and with each other. Rightly applying the fruit of the Spirit as each occasion arises to disrupt the unity of the Body. This will require each member’s desire to be led by the Spirit and their constant discipline within themselves and their actions and words towards others.
Most institutional churches want their members to fulfill certain rituals and regulations to ensure their ‘right standing’ within the congregation. Jesus’ requirements are that His sheep listen to Him and obey Him. (John 10:27) Can one serve two masters? (Luke 16:13) If every ‘member’ would be seeking the Lord with all that is within them — then unity is possible with God supplying the ‘endurance, patience, and encouragement’. But ‘forced’ unity is never real unity. Unity by punishment or fear is never unity of spirit. Without leading the members to the Holy Spirit for their teaching and understanding — real spiritual unity will never be possible.
The Pharisees had the ‘word’. They studied the scriptures with all that they had within them. They were the ‘experts’ in the scriptures! Yet when He walked among them – did they recognize Him? It is BY the Spirit of God that we KNOW Him! Yet most of the current Christian religious institutions continue the ‘Pharisee’ way – of only going to the scriptures to ‘understand’. Yet real spiritual understanding of the scriptures can ONLY come from the Spirit of God .. not human intelligence or mental assent.
Our only real fulfillment is in being One with Jesus Christ, and indwelled by His Holy Spirit. Being in deep intimate koinonia / fellowship with Him .. moment by moment. As for myself …that is my pursuit. To truly … ‘know’ Him. What are you pursuing with your life?