January 23, 2017
Today’s gospel: Mark 3:22-30
Why is unity so important? Jesus himself gave the basic principle: “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.” (v.24). Yet through the centuries there have been plenty of Christians who neglected or ignored this principle. While all are part of the one body of Christ, while all profess to serve the one Master, many have acted in ways that caused disunity and division.
Even Satan can be given credit for knowing this principle. “And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him.” (v.26). All demons are united in assaulting God’s people and dedicated to bringing them down. They all know that they have one enemy, and that is God. Unfortunately, God’s people miss out on the reality that they have only one enemy, the devil. By opposing their fellow Christians to the point of disunity, they become the enemy within. In causing disunity, they become allies of Satan. Satan causes division within the body of Christ, and is quite adept at it.
The irony is that division within the body of Christ oftentimes happens as God’s people act in the service of Christ. In their desire to be of service to the Kingdom, they end up fighting each other. When a Christian who is supposed to be filled with the Holy Spirit acts in ways that malign another to the point of strife and disunity, is he not then in effect saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” (v. 30)? Thinking the other is not acting in the interest of Christ, is he not in fact the one who, in causing division, acts in the interest of the enemy?
This is a serious sin because it disrupts life within the body and negatively affects its mission. Instead of doing the work of Christ, one ends up doing the work of the enemy. It is acting in a way that in effect accuses the other of not acting according to the Spirit (and if not, then acting according to the evil one). It in effect attributes to Satan, who is evil itself, what is actually the work of the Spirit, who wars against such evil. Would that be an expression of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? If so, there is a serious consequence. “But whoever blasphemes against the holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” (v.29).
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