When we join the family of God, we are united in Jesus Christ. Therefore, we need to serve, honor, and love each other in a radical way.
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you. (Galatians 3:26-29).
One of the disciplines that help us to abide with Christ is fellowshipping with other believers.
Note that I didn’t say churchgoers. Or people that claim a religious experience.
We are commanded by Christ to love others, even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). But loving others and being united with others are two different things.
God does not require us to be in unity with all other people. But He does expect that once we are united in Jesus Christ, that we will be one with each other, as today’s passage states.
So how do Christians show that we are united in Jesus Christ?
We Are United in Service
Christ gave us the ultimate example of service when He took on the role of a servant at the Last Supper and washed the disciples’ feet.
He did this to show that as the Body of Christ, our attitude is to serve one another. Rather than seek position, we are to seek the role of a servant with each other.
And it’s not just to do menial tasks. We are to serve each other with everything we have – our strength, energy, and spiritual gifts (1 Peter 4:10-11).
If the world is to know that we are united in Jesus Christ, it will have to see us treating each other with a level of service that doesn’t make human sense.
That’s one of the reasons why Christ expects us to give everything we have.
We Are United in Honoring One Another
Jesus taught often on the need for us not to seek position or favor over one another, but rather honor one another through humility.
One example of this teaching is when Jesus was invited to dinner at the home of a Pharisee. He noticed that many were trying to sit near the head of the table. In Jesus’ day, the “seats of honor” at banquets were the ones closest to the head of the table.
Jesus advised the guests not to go straight for the seats of honor, but for the lower seats, so that the host will ask them to sit in a better seat (Luke 14:7-14).
Through this illustration, Jesus taught the value of humility. Since we are united in Jesus Christ, we should take service to one another one step further, and be humble towards one another.
When we are striving to honor each other in humility, we are agreeing to set aside our pride.
This makes absolute sense that if we are united in Jesus Christ, pride would be something we would actively try to stamp out amongst ourselves. After all, pride is a worldly virtue that is at the root of sin (1 John 2:15-17).
We Are United in Love
Our love for each other as believers is another sign that we are united in Jesus Christ. Followers of Christ should love radically because they have been loved radically.
So how do we learn to show this radical kind of love for one another? By learning all the ways Christ would have us obey the two greatest commandments.
While these commandments do not limit love to only the body of Christ, they certainly must include it.
But it’s not just the action of love. The quality of our love is to be different from the world.
The Bible tells us that when believers love one another, we prove that God lives in us, and God’s love will be fully expressed in us (1 John 4:11-12).
Are We United?
As we can see, the Bible is full of passages that say we are united in Jesus Christ if we follow Him.
If we truly follow Christ, and we are with others who are also true believers, we should see the evidence through our service, honor, and love for each other.
Unfortunately, there are many who attend church or who claim Christ who are not Christ followers. Or there are others who are so new and/or immature in the faith that they look more like the world than part of the Body of Christ and need to be discipled.
Can we really expect the world to believe we are united in Jesus Christ when we don’t act that way? How are we going to show the world it needs Christ if his followers look identical to the world?
I am not saying this to shame anyone. But if we do not see evidence of service, honor and love thriving in a particular Christian fellowship, it is important to thoroughly examine ourselves to see if our faith is genuine (2 Corinthians 13:5-6).
More verses that talk about being united in Jesus Christ: