How many times have zealous young believers been troubled by the strife or disunity in their church only to be told by their pastor, “Well, you’ve got to understand: we’re still sinners, even though we’re saved by grace.”
Hasn’t every sincere Christian raised the question, “Why can’t we all be one? Why do there have to be so many denominations?” Most have received the answer, “That’s just human nature.”
The general consensus in the Christian churches of today seems to be this: there are certain areas in our lives that aren’t going to change until the Lord comes back, or at least until we get to heaven. And these are things that are beyond our control. Instead, they tend to control us. It’s pretty obvious that we’ve got a sinful nature. That’s just the way people are.
Galatians 5:19 says, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious.” The passage goes on to list differences of opinion (dissensions) and denominations (factions) among the obvious evidences of what is often called “human nature.” And few would bother to deny it.
But consider what Romans 8:9 says: “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” This should be a pretty shocking passage for Christians, considering how often acts of the sinful nature (or flesh) are accepted as normal in today’s churches. Would the divisions in Christianity exist if Christians were controlled by the Spirit and not the flesh? Obviously not, but what does that mean? Does the Spirit of God not live in them?
May God’s word be found true, though every man be proven a liar!
If this is a hard saying, consider what the rest of Romans 8:9 says. For if the flesh is in control of the denominations, and the Spirit of God does not live there, according to the Bible, then how can those in the Christian churches belong to Christ? And if they do not belong to Christ, have they been purchased or redeemed by His blood? Could it be that they are still dead in their trespasses?