In describing the marital relationship, Jesus taught that the husband and wife become one, yes, to the point that “they are no longer two but one flesh” (Matthew 19:5–6). Even so, in describing the close relationship among Christians, again, the word one was used. There is one New Testament church (Ephesians 1:22–23; 4:4) and her members are to live as one, that is, in harmony, enjoying a relationship of being close to each other (cf. Romans 12:10, 16; Galatians 5:13; 6:2; Ephesians 4:2, 32; 5:19, 21; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 4:18; Hebrews 10:24; James 4:11; 5:16; 1 Peter 4:9).
TO WHAT EXTENT SHOULD CHRISTIANS LIVE IN HARMONY?
According to Christ’s prayer for the church, Christians are to be one “just as” Christ and His Father are one (John 17:21–23). A beautiful concord existed between Jesus and His heavenly Father (cf. John 10:38; 14:9–11; 17:2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 22, 24). They were of the same mind (John 6:38). They spoke the same things (John 7:16; 12:48–50). They manifested the same love (John 3:16; Galatians 2:20). In essence, they were coworkers (John 5:36). Even so, this concord is to exist among Christians (cf. Acts 2:47; 4:32). They are to be of the same mind (Romans 12:16; 15:5–6; 2 Corinthians 13:11). They are to speak the same things doctrinally (1 Corinthians 1:10; cf. Romans 15:6). They are also to love one another with the same love (Philippians 2:2; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:25–26). They, too, are to be coworkers (2 Corinthians 6:1).
According to Christ’s prayer for the church, Christians are to be one even as Christ and the Christians are one (John 17:23). Note the phrase of Jesus, “I in them.” A togetherness is shared between Christ and the Christians. The Christian dwells in Christ (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17), and Christ, through His Word, dwells in the Christian (1 Corinthians 3:15–16; 1 John 2:24). Christians are made “alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5); they are raised up with Him and sit with Him in the heavenly places (2:6), being created in Him for good works (2:10). Even so, a togetherness is to exist among Christians. They are to be perfected together (1 Corinthians 1:10), workers together (2 Corinthians 6:1), be together in heart (2 Corinthians 7:3), being framed together (Ephesians 4:16), and knit together (Colossians 2:2). Paul’s words could sum up the extent of fellowship which is to exist among Christians and Christ: “Jesus Christ . . . died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him” (1 Thessalonians 5:9–10). —condensed from Harmony Among the Heirs of Heaven, Dan Winkler