Here is part 2 of the study on Division in the Body of Christ by my friend Tammy!
Division in the Body of Christ – Part 2, What is Division?
There are many different Hebrew and Greek words used in the Bible that convey the idea of division and separation, and you should take the time to study them out on your own. It’ll help you. As Kath said to me once, there is good division and bad division. Right now I want to point out some Scriptures on both types so we can start to get an idea about what the differences are and how they apply to us.
“Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.’” 2 Corinthians 6:17
Here Paul was talking to the Corinthians about how darkness has no fellowship with light, and that we’re not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. We’re supposed to separate ourselves from the world – we do things differently now that we’re members of the Kingdom of God.
“And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11
The word “sanctified” carries with it the idea of being set apart to God. You’re still living in this world, but you have been set apart and made holy.
For both of these scripture references, this sort of “division” is more like being part of a different family. It’s not about being right or wrong, it’s about being God’s, or not.
While the verses above are examples of good division/separation, the Bible also talks a lot about bad division…
In Proverbs 6:16-19, the writer lists seven things that are an abomination (disgusting) to the Lord. Included in that list are lying, murder, devising wicked plans…and then…
“And one who sows discord among brethren.” (v. 19)
Someone who sows (plants) discord among brethren is something that the Lord HATES. The word “discord” means “strife, contention.” Now, this is going beyond just being in a different family. This is talking about people who start trouble in their family or between members of another family. Think about what we learned in the first post. We have a lot of “in-fighting” in the Body of Christ that makes us look “disgusting” to the world. No wonder God hates it!
If that’s not enough to convince you that this sort of division is always wrong, look at this verse:
“For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” James 3:16
See that phrase “self-seeking”? The King James Version translates it as “strife,” and the Greek word used here means “electioneering or intriguing for office.” Hello? While we may not all be running for any actual office, isn’t the majority of division and strife about proving oneself to be “right” and someone else “wrong”? I’ve heard of church splits happening over everything from doctrinal disagreements to which side of the church the organ should be on. When we behave like this, we’re inviting every form and manner of evil into our laps. (You can read an EXCELLENT post on strife by Kath here – there’s actually a whole series on it – you should read them all!) When I think of all the nastiness going on amongst believers, my heart echoes our brother James, “My brothers and sisters, this should not happen!” (James 3:10 GW)
Biblically, godly division has to do with, among other things, us separating ourselves from operating and thinking the way the world does because that’s not who we are anymore – we’re new creatures! Just like God made a distinction between the Israelites and the Egyptians in Exodus, He wants the world to be able to see that He has made a distinction between Christians and those who aren’t born again.
Bad “division” is so much more about the heart of a person’s actions…why they do what they do. It makes God look like a cruel Father, and it only serves to exalt one’s opinions and interests above another’s. Bad division separates the closest of friends and destroys lives, which reminds me of Jesus’ description of the devil.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” John 10:10
Let’s stop letting the enemy use us to kill, steal, and destroy! Instead, let’s do what God told us to do (see the first post in this series) so that the world sees us living what Jesus said He came to give us in the last half of John 10:10:
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Do you see the difference?