Unified in Truth
"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
-John 17:17-23 This is a section from what is called Jesus’ “priestly prayer” before His death. Many people focus only on the “unity” portion of this prayer. They talk about how Jesus desired for those who call on His name to be united and one. Many times this unity is called for at the sacrifice of truth and doctrine. Notice in verse 17 Jesus says “sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth”. The fact is that unity and truth must go hand in hand. Jesus prays that we would be one just as He was one with the Father. In being one with the Father Jesus ONLY spoke what the Father had given Him to speak, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” John 12:49. In being one with the Father He was totally united with the Father in all He spoke and did. He never spoke falsehood and never violated God’s law. Jesus prays for us to be sanctified in the truth and united with each other in this truth. Unity can never sacrifice truth but true unity can only be established in/through truth. We cannot have half the church saying it is okay to bow down to idols and half of the church saying it is not okay. We cannot tell those who do not bow to idols that they need to sacrifice God’s command for the sake of a false unity. We cannot have part of the church saying we are saved by grace through faith and part of it saying we are saved by grace AND good works yet still being united in a false unity. The only unity we can have is in God’s word and truth. It is only true unity when it is established on what God has truly said about Himself. We also cannot continue in sanctification if we are not established in God’s truth. Jesus asked the Father to sanctify us IN truth. This truth is what God uses to both sanctify us and unite us. We can not sacrifice the truth for a false unity with those who do not honor the word of God. Jesus made this clear in His ministry, He NEVER sacrificed God’s truth in order to have unity with those who did not truly believe God’s truth. His example was followed by all the apostles as well. They were willing to die so that God’s truth would be advanced and were never willing to sacrifice that truth to unite with those false brothers who had come among them preaching different gospels. Paul gives the ultimate example of this in Galatians when he said, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
-Gal. 1:6-10 Notice Paul knows that what he is saying will NOT please certain people. The word “accursed” he uses here means “let them be doomed to destruction or hell”. He is quite sure that he will cause a division among the church. He does this because there can be no unity between those who believe the true gospel and those who pervert it. Paul spoke in other places about a strong desire for the church to be unified but in those areas he was speaking of those who believe in the true gospel being unified with each other, he was not encouraging them to unite with those who would pervert the gospel of Christ. The church in America is being drowned in false doctrine, heresy, error, and false gospels. We need people to be willing to stand up against these errors and expose them through use of God’s truth in scripture. We need people that are not trying to please men but ARE trying to please God. You can not mix the true gospel with error, you cannot unite truth with falsehood, you cannot bring people to eternal life through man’s error. I pray that we would have a church in America that would once again be united in TRUTH, the truth found in scripture, and would be willing to separate from those who would pervert that truth. I pray that BOLD men and women would call out the false teaching being spread for what it is, doctrines of demons and once again the true gospel would spread throughout our land! We must heed Paul’s exhortation and warning to Timothy…. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
-1 Tim. 3:12-4:5