Updated: Jan 16, 2021
Blessings upon believers and removing the curse of division
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! . . . For there the LORD has commanded the blessing . . . [Psa. 133:1, 3 ESV].
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord . . . That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died [1 Cor. 11:27, 30 ESV].
All people desire blessings. Believers in Jesus Christ are those who have received all of God’s blessings. These blessings are both spiritual (Eph. 1:3) and physical (Matt. 6:33). Before one receives Jesus Christ as their Life, there is a sense of void and dissatisfaction. However, after coming to faith, there is joy, peace and fulfillment in Jesus Christ, and all physical needs are supplied having been freed from anxiety.
Nevertheless, after becoming a Christian, many find themselves in spiritual weakness and even physical sickness. They may also find themselves in lack. It seems that God has withdrawn His blessings.
The reason can very well lie in the fact that God is unhappy with the state of division among His people. If His people have splintered into factions with offenses and accusations toward one another, then instead of blessings God may exercise His judgment. Therefore, in the state of division in Corinth, believers remained in their divisiveness and didn’t discern the One Body of Christ; therefore, they received judgment from God in the form of “sickness”—even to the point of death!
If sicknesses and weaknesses are from God’s judgment due to division, then no amount of prayer or casting out of demonic influences will remove them. What is needed is divine light exposing the offenses against the Body of the Lord and repentance from any factious attitude toward any of God’s people.
Therefore, the recovery of joy, life’s strength, and blessings is in the state of unity with God’s people. The love, kindness, and forgiveness toward God’s people, specially toward those contrary with differing perspectives are the conditions needed to live in God’s blessings. Christians need to repent from any antagonism toward each other and love one another as the Lord Jesus has loved us all. This is the unity of the Spirit. It is in God’s ekklesia, the oneness of the Body of Christ, wherein believers maintain the blessings of life, which God has richly commanded.
Glory to God
. . . to him be glory in the church [ekklesia] and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen [Eph 3:21 ESV].
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 [Rom 15:5-6 ESV].
If you are a father with many children, would you receive glory if your children are fighting and suing each other in court? Would you be glorified if a limb is severed from your body? How can God be glorified among His divided people? Impossible!
During the time of Israel in the Hebrews Scriptures, they were comprised of 12 quite different and distinct tribes (from 2 fathers [Jacob and Joseph] and 5 mothers). Though they all had their separate allotment of land; yet they were to come to Jerusalem as one man to build up God’s temple, His dwelling place. God’s temple can only be built on Zion, the place of oneness among the 12 tribes. It is there that God filled the temple with His glory—He was glorified by the 12 tribes in oneness to worship Him at Zion’s Holy Hill.
The Lord’s ekklesia is today’s Mount Zion (Heb. 12:22-23). It is the place where distinct and different believers who might normally be in their factions are sharing a meal together in oneness. That was the situation in Romans 14-15. The Jewish and Gentile believers came together, though still keeping their distinctions in their respective convictions, to fellowship and glorify God with one mouth in harmony.
God’s eternal purpose has everything to do with His ekklesia. His ekklesia is His Household (family), the Bride of the Son, the Body of Christ, God’s Kingdom, the New Man, and ultimately, the New Jerusalem. It is for His ekklesia that Jesus died and was resurrected (Eph. 5:25). God’s eternal goal is not for many individual believers going to heaven one day, but for many individuals built-up as ONE in the Son which is manifested in today’s world.
The apostle Paul was clear: to God be the glory in His ekklesia! It is only in the fellowship of the Trinity, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, that once divided and hostile peoples toward one another can love one another and become one. God is eternally ONE yet distinctly Father, Son and Spirit—inseparable but ONE. God cannot be glorified in His people divided because His expression is one. God’s people being diverse in unity expresses the Trinity. That is glory to God!
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church [ekklesia], and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. [Matt. 16:18 ESV]
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. [Rom 16:20 ESV]
When Jesus died on the cross, Satan was judged (John 16:11);also, power was made ineffective or inoperative (Heb. 2:14). Satan was defeated when Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected. Although Satan is judged and sentenced, his verdict is not yet executed. He is defeated, but he is still the ruler of this world, his kingdom. This is similar to a person sentenced for capital punishment—he is in death row awaiting the date of execution. While awaiting the fulfillment of his sentence, he may still be running and directing his worldwide criminal enterprise.
Satan’s execution date comes when God’s ekklesia is built up. Jesus clearly declared that His ekklesia will defeat the gates of Hades, the domain of Satan. God’s ekklesia is on the offensive; she is crashing through the gates of Hades. Believers do not defeat Satan as individuals, no matter how spiritual they are. The armor of God in Ephesians 6 is for the Body of Christ.
The first prophecy recorded in the Scriptures spoken by God Himself to the Serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen. 3:15). Who is this Seed that shall deliver a mortal wound to Satan’s head? This Seed is Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:16). However, Jesus Christ has increased to include many diverse kinds of people. He is now a corporate seed (Gal. 3:26-29). This corporate seed has no effect against Satan if it is divided.
The crushing of Satan’s head is not accomplished without the saints willingly breaking down barriers by their meeting and greeting one another as full-fledged members of the same Body . . . when that happens, then the head of Satan, the Serpent, is crushed! If you would, Messiah/Jesus needs feet – yes bruised feet – to crush Satan’s head: We are the feet of Jesus!
Therefore, in Romans 16, Paul commanded divided believers in Rome to intentionally go and greet (have fellowship) with those outside their familiar grouping. The Jewish believers needed to go to the homes of Gentile believers and have a meal with them, and vice versa. It is through these unaccustomed greetings the God of peace is testified. Jesus died on the cross to bring peace to His once divided people who were hostile toward one another. The corporate seed of Christ became one and crushed Satan under their feet (Rom. 16:20).
Dear Christians, if you desire to defeat Satan in this age and you see this crucial matter of the oneness of God’s people, you will divert your energy and prayer toward breaking down all the walls of division between God’s people. You will answer Paul’s command to go and greet those believers you with whom you are unfamiliar or may have criticized and avoided. You will allow the God of peace to rule in your heart toward other brethren. .
Exposing Satan’s devious stratagem against God’s Kingdom
“Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser [kategor] of our brethren, who accused [kategoron] them before our God day and night, has been cast down” (Rev. 12:10).
Satan understands that it is the oneness of God’s people, a built up ekklesia, that will finally crush him. Therefore, he has only one job day and night before God. Satan’s full-time job is to divide God’s people so that they will fight among themselves; thereby, he continues his reign over his kingdom in this world.
How does he do it? He is continually categorizing God’s people, which then would cause those categorized, to accuse and attack those in an opposing categorized group. Satan is active in grouping people with a label, those who identify themselves under a label would be the ones doing the accusing or attacking people in an opposite “Christian” group.
The Greek word for “accuser” and “accused” is translated from the Greek word “kategoria.” How devious of Satan. He names, labels, or denominates various groups: by race, doctrinal understandings, spiritual practices, political affiliations, ministry styles, etc. God’s people would pick one of his categorized groups and start dividing and accusing Christians in a group different from their own.
Jesus said: “a kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation” (Matt. 12:25). God’s people as the kingdom of God on earth has been made ineffective because they/we have fallen into Satan’s categorizing ploy.
Many people, including Christians, have stopped looking at individuals with unique experiences and perspectives; rather, they are viewed under the label either they have put on themselves, or others have labeled them.
The Body of Christ, His ekklesia, is one with diverse members from every sector of society. Let us see each individual believer in Christ “where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Col. 3:10).
Between believers let’s not ask “what church do you go to?” as a question which intentionally or unintentionally identifies and categorizes the other person. Let’s reach out to other believers in Jesus—those different than ourselves—in order to love, be kind, and fellowship with those outside of any categorizing. All believers are different, yet one in the Body of Christ. We all share the same common salvation and faith (Jude 1:3; Titus 1:4); the Spirit of Christ indwells all who call upon His Name—and we are His children—we have the same Father. Therefore, let’s crush Satan’s head together in unity!