Yesterday I talked about division, and how our theology and religion isn’t going to lead anyone to Christ if we don’t live the way Christ did. Today I thought I’d talk a little more on the subject and about division in Christian circles, especially in the church.
I’m going to throw out a few verses here (something I’ve never done before) about division.
Titus 3:9 says, “But avoid foolish questions, genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they unprofitable and vain.”
Romans 16:17-18 says, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them.”
Right, so these obviously are about quarrels against theology and doctrine regarding the law. A lot of churches these days are so caught up in their theology that they forget the most important of all: Love. Christians are caught back in the law and can’t see the great grace that Jesus gave on the cross. Jesus defeated the curse of the law when He died, so why are we still holding on to it? Why are we still teaching others the ways of the law. Why are we judging others through the eyes of the law?
There’s division in the church because they still follow the law. The very law that says we should be tithing 10% instead of giving everything to the Lord because He gave everything to us. The very law that looks at a persons outward appearance instead of the inside. And the very law that makes us feel unworthy if we’ve done something wrong. I used to feel very much like that whenever I fell short of it. And guess what? The guilt I felt only caused me to fall away even more!
Christians who judge people by their looks are causing division right there. People who judge others with long hair, tattoos, earrings, or anything else are causing division, not only with others, but with God. Jesus looks at the heart, not the appearance, so I think He’s hurt when we judge others based on our own theology and law. That long hair and tattoos are evil.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to grow long hair or get tattoos myself, but that doesn’t mean they’re evil, I’m just not interested. I’m going to be controversial here, and you may not agree with me, but here goes. Regarding long hair, Paul was talking to the Corinthian church, and at that time, they were judging according to the law. Their theology was that long hair was a sign of homosexuality, so as you can imagine, men with long hair weren’t treated kindly, so they (the Corinthians) were causing division. We look at that verse in Corinthians and we miss everything around it (as we always like to do). It’s funny when each time we take a Scripture out of context, it coincides with what’s deep inside our hearts desires. Anyway, Paul was getting quite angry with them, so he said, “Judge among yourselves!” And he then went on to state the obvious between them. After that, he says, “But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practices, nor have churches of God.”
A contentious person causes strife, argument, or division. They were causing division by the issue of long hair, because their culture was against it! No wonder Paul got angry. Their own law and theology got in the way. God can’t move when there is division. Look at what Paul says next. “But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together, not for the better, but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you, and in part, I believe it.” Oh Lord, help us to see the error of our ways.
The law never made someone feel good. It’s never made someone fall in love with God. If I found Jesus through the law, I would have departed years ago. I would be living in sin. We’re rebellious by nature, so our very will is to rebel against the law. It’s no wonder that you don’t see a lot of Christians in the Old testament. And so we have this wall put in front of us. It separates us. We have the ones who live in grace, and the ones who follow the law. I can tell you which is the happier side.
I’ll talk about grace in another post, but I want to focus on Jesus’ theology. Yes, He had one. What is it? Love. Loving God, your neighbor, and yourself. The three L’s is what one of my favourite pastors, Pastor Bob Beeman, says. By the way, Pastor Bob is a man with long hair, tattoos, earrings, and a goatee, so I don’t think he’s following the law very well 🙂 But he lives in grace, and he’s one of the happiest, nicest guys you could ever hope to meet. And he loves heavy metal!
So, lets stop causing division within the church, ourselves, and others. And start living like Jesus did, in love and in sacrifice. Remember, a church divided against itself can not stand.
If you have any other thoughts please share.