God's word praises those who are able to dwell together in unity. The Psalmist says, "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity," (Psalms 133:1). The unity of the Psalmist signifies oneness in sentiment and affection. Oneness is highlighted by unified behavior. Unity is characterized by correct belief AND right practice.

One of seven things that God hates is ".one that sows discord among brethren," (Proverbs 6:16-19). One who stirs up dissension and spreads strife in the body of Christ is like cancer to the body. God hates it and so must we!

This is not to say it is wrong to "contend earnestly for THE faith," (Jude 3). Apostle Paul condemns the wrongful practice of division that was ongoing in the church at Corinth. He admonished them to "speak the same thing.be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment," (1 Corinthians 1:10). The Ephesian Christians were told to be "eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace," (Ephesians 4:3). In other words we must "take heed unto ourselves and the doctrine" to be saved, (1 Timothy 4:16).

We simply must be rooted and grounded in truth and love in order for Christ to dwell in our hearts by faith, (Ephesians 3:17). Titus was instructed by Paul to "show himself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you," (Titus 2:7-8).

When one becomes moved away from the correct belief and practice, he has sinned. He has failed to maintain the unity of the Spirit's teaching. He will have caused much grief and anguish among those who love him and pray for his repentance.

He must squarely face the issues, admit guilt, make confession of error and seek forgiveness. Until that sinning brother repents and seeks to restore unity, the church family must practice tough love. Tough love demands that we be strong. "If we faint in the day of adversity, our strength is small," (Proverbs 24:10).

Paul teaches that a little leaven leavens he whole lump. Therefore the old leaven must be purged out. We must practice tough love or else be guilty of condoning division. The unity of the Spirit must be maintained.

We must speak only where the Bible speaks.

By Wendell Ward

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