Theme: Christ has made the church spiritually one; joyfully, let it be one!

This passage is important to understand because it forms the foundation for the rest of the book. The focus comes in verse three: “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” We will find that a truly unified church requires spiritual growth and maturity.


Unity is the work of the Spirit, not of our own effort – just like salvation and sanctification. When you have been saved, God miraculously changes you from the inside out, taking away certain desires to sin. This shows that you really have been saved. Your past no longer identifies your present or your future.

Unity is a product of God’s Spirit, and thus cannot be destroyed. We don’t create it; we maintain it. Unity is perpetuated by spiritual maturity, which comes about as converted people attend to the whole counsel of God’s Word.

Unity Is Not

  • External and Mechanical

Unity is not uniformity, the result of rules superimposed to make everyone look the same. God’s unity comes from the inside out. There can and will be diversity within unity, and this is proper as long as all are seeking to maintain God’s unity according to His Word.

  • Organization

Unity in the body of Christ does not exist simply because a group is named and organized. The Church is first an organism, a living creation of Jesus Christ.

  • Ecumenical

Merging religions or abandoning doctrinal differences does not produce true unity.

  • Superficial or Sentimental

Just because a group of people feels good about being together does not mean the Spirit of Christ has unified them. There is a substantive emotion that comes from real unity, but that feeling does not make unity.

  • Dormant or Inactive

Unity is not stagnant; it is active and influential.

Unity Is

  • Personally Driven

Paul begins his appeal with the pronoun “I.” Maintaining unity requires the personal commitment of each converted person in the church. First you must understand what God’s unity is. Then you will maintenance unity by being discipled, devoting yourself to prayer and to Scripture, and personally walking with God.

  • Organic and Active

A unified church is not stagnant. We have a divine, spiritual mission to pursue. As we mature inside the church, we will be an increasingly influential light outside our walls. We will only have a Gospel of integrity if we have personal commitments to unity first.

  • Supernaturally Influential.

In John 13:31-35, Jesus tells us what the result of unity in His church will be. As unity is maintained, it will be shown in love; and this love will always have an influence in a world that doesn’t quite recognize it.

For next week, here is a sneak peek at the outline for verses 1-6:
The Petition for a Worthy Walk (verse 1)
The Purity of a Worthy Walk (verses 2-3)
The Profound Source of a Worthy Walk (verses 4-6)

Application Points

  • How do you understand unity? Is this based on our human ideas of unity or what God says it is? Train yourself to think of unity as God defines it.
  • Do you maintenance the unity of the Spirit in this church personally? Your individual walk affects the whole Body. Are you devoted to prayer and God’s Word? Are you being discipled and growing more like Christ?
Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore:

  • Ephesians 4:24 – We are re-created by God in salvation.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Your experience can only minister to others once you have been saved. Real help against sin only comes from Jesus.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:13 – The Spirit places us into One Body.
  • Philippians 1:27, Acts 1:8 – The action taken by a unified Church.