“I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose. For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers, by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you. I mean that each of you is saying, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,’ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”
St. Paul, as he proclaimed the Good News and helped fledgling churches form in various communities, was not unaware that we are human.
Though we may desire to be one Church, one Body of Christ, sometimes things get in the way of our being united in Christ. And yet, by baptism, we are. The early churches, with their faith being so new and untried, had challenges from their previous faith, and as their attention was snagged by various teachers or interpretations of Christ’s message.
Such distractions have continued through the intervening centuries, and continue today.
But the Bible is clear. There is one God, one salvation through Christ. And we are one people, united in faith in that same Savior, Christ Jesus, who died for each of us, for all, so that sins might be forgiven, and the gates of Heaven opened for all who believe and proclaim Him as Lord.
There will be times that test our faith. There will be distractions that claim our attention. But in faith, united with Christ and “united in the same mind and in the same purpose,” as St. Paul exhorted the Corinthians, we can prevail against such distractions and tests.
As this Lent comes to a close, we remember Christ’s last days, and His great sacrifice that all might know salvation.
As he approached His final days, He offered this encouragement against the trials, challenges, and disunity:
“Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world” (John 16:32-33).
Don’t let the things of this world distract us from our hope, our ultimate goal: salvation in and with our Lord.