Insights: There Must Be Divisions

From the beginning of Scripture to the end, there is a “unity” theme about the Godhead. In the beginning, you observe the Trinity in the hovering of God’s Spirit over the frozen ice pack in Genesis 1:2 and the Father’s will and judgment in Genesis 3:10-14 and the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ as the seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15. Those unity and Trinity concepts are seen in Isaiah’s promise, “Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; From the time that it was, I was there. And now the Lord GOD and His Spirit have sent Me.” (Is. 48:16) Jesus prayed for unity among His followers when He said, “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one.” (John 17:23)

Jesus charged His apostles to declare the unity of the Trinity when identifying new believers into God’s family, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19) Every new believer is to be added to the Bride of Christ in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which name represents the character of the Godhead.

In the last verses of the Bible, you can see the unity of the Trinity in how each fulfills His role,

16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. 18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. (Rev. 22:16-18)

The name “God” is attributed to God the Father. And hence unity is very important at the very end of the Bible.

Then why does Paul seem to contradict himself and God. First, he wrote, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by 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 perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Cor. 1:10) But he also wrote in the context of celebrating the Lord’s table, “For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.” (1 Cor. 11:19) Why does he say there should be no divisions, but then he wrote, that there must be factions (divisions)? Why does he say there must be factions, when in all places, there should be unity at the Lord’s table.

He explained the reason in the verse. Paul wrote “that” which states the purpose there must be factions. Then he wrote, “…those who are approved may be recognized among you.”  There are those who cause factions and those who are part of factions, but did not cause them. God will allow factions, so that those who are approved will be known. The word “approved” comes from a word that means “tested for the purpose of approval.”

James used the word in James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (Jam 1:12) God is the one who “tests” in this verse, because it is for the purpose of proving whether the person qualifies for the crown of life.  Faithful dependence on God is the proof of passing the test.

When Paul used the word, he meant the congregation would see who was tested and proven. Yes, those who sought for unity, would become known for unity and would be recognized for their intent on unity. Those who created division would be recognized for creating division.

So when people create factions (divisions), do not be concerned. Follow Scripture under the ministry of the Holy Spirit and expose the factious ones. Recognize those who are approved and those who caused the factions.

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