THE APOSTLE’S EXHORTATION
We have the Triune God within us, and the Lord is answering His prayer to keep us and make us one. Based upon the Lord’s desire, the apostle Paul exhorted the saints in Ephesus concerning their walk. He exhorted them to keep the oneness of the Spirit. In the church, in the oneness of the Triune God, the saints should walk worthily of the Father’s selection and predestination. Paul said, “I beseech you therefore, I, the prisoner in the Lord, to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, bearing one another in love” (Eph. 4:1-2). We need to be lowly and meek, to suffer long, and to bear one another in love. To walk worthily of God’s calling, we need to be “diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace” (v. 3). Our mind, our will, and our emotion need to be attuned to the Spirit (1 Cor. 1:10) to keep the oneness of the Spirit.
DIVISION ANNULLING THE ONENESS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST
In 1 Corinthians 1:13 Paul points out that Christ is not divided. The unique and undivided Christ, taken as the unique center among all the believers, should be the termination of all divisions. Christ has not been divided, and neither should the believers be divided (vv. 10-12).
Perhaps one brother is quiet in the meetings, but another brother is very loud. Both of them need to be attuned to keep the oneness. Paul speaks of our need to be attuned in 1 Corinthians 1:10: “Now I beseech you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be attuned in the same mind and in the same opinion.” There should be no division in the Body of Christ (12:25a). In the Triune God, we have oneness. We have the oneness which is the Triune God Himself. Although this oneness is in us, we are full of opinions and preferences. Hence, we need to be attuned. We all need attuning so that there will be no division in the Body.
First Corinthians 11:19 indicates that there must be parties among the believers, that those who are approved may become manifest among them. Division annuls the oneness, and there should be no division in the Body. But when there are parties in the church, which are real divisions, these parties manifest the experienced ones and the approved ones. Parties, or sects, are useful to manifest the approved ones, who are not sectarian.
THE WAY TO DEAL WITH DIVISIONS
Paul instructed us in how to deal with divisions in Romans 16:17: “Now I exhort you, brothers, to mark those who make divisions and causes of stumbling contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and turn away from them.” Concerning those who make divisions, we have to be watchful, mark them out, and turn away from them. In Titus 3:10 Paul said, “A factious man, after a first and second admonition, refuse.” In a family someone may become very ill with a contagious disease. Then the whole family has to quarantine him, to be separated from him. This, however, does not mean to hate him or to give him up. But for the sake of the health of the whole family, there is the need of some quarantine so that the family can be preserved and even healed.
Among us in the family of faith, there may be some who have the sick intention of spreading the germs of division. What shall we do? The natural, human thought is that to reject a saint is not so nice or polite. We feel that we are all the Lord’s children and that we should not offend people. Paul, however, says to mark those who make divisions and turn away from them. We should practice the Body life in this way. On the one hand, we receive all the believers in the principle of love according to God’s receiving and not according to doctrinal concepts. This is according to Paul’s instruction in Romans 14. On the other hand, Paul tells us in Romans 16 that we must mark those who make divisions and turn away from them.
In order to maintain good order in the church, a factious, divisive person, after a first and second admonition, should be refused, rejected. This is to stop communication with a contagiously divisive person for the church’s profit. Today we are here in the Lord’s recovery, and we must be faithful to the recovery. If we bring in division, we are no longer the recovery and become a part of the divisive situation today. We have to stand for the Lord’s recovery in truth and in life.
(Five Emphases in the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)