In the folds of Scripture, I can see the fullness of God in the unity of His entire creation. Disobedience tainted our lens, resulting in disunity rather than unity in creation and making it hard to see life in its purest form. One area that stands out is the design of oneness or unity ordained by God in all creation! Unity not only exists within the species of creation but is interwoven through all of creation (Hosea 2:18)! Oneness is a divine attribute within the Trinity, and that oneness of God’s creation will return with Jesus as He reconciles all things back to God in the new heaven and the new earth!
Jesus’ prayer echoes the Father’s heart for oneness in His body (John 17:11)—a oneness that reflects a distinct community in the local church but with a global mindset that lives the oneness of Jesus. There should be an indigenous flavor in each local church as it was in the New Testament churches but not at the expense of the fellowship derived from practicing oneness. To live out oneness practically, supernaturally, and globally, we must change our thinking from being “a” church or “my” church to being “the” Church.
God requires dependency on Him and an interdependency on each another. Unfortunately, Christendom appears caught in bondage to the philosophy of branding and marketing as if a business, which is contrary to what Paul teaches us in 2 Corinthians 4:5: “…For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord….” Christendom is not to be like corporate America (2 Chron. 12:8). The Church is not an entity vying for customers, market shares, and revenues. A church with an entrepreneurial mindset voids the Gospel and implements best practices that pursue big crowds and brand loyalty. This approach also creates competition among churches while draining human and financial ministry resources.
Oneness within the SBCV captures our commitment to the reality that “you are not alone.” Biblically, there is no difference in Christ—no big or little; rich or poor; black or white or any other ethnic churches—just the Church. God said we are one body with one Father, Lord, and Spirit (Eph. 4:4–7). A powerful example of a church (Jerusalem) not being alone because of the grace and fervent desire and obedience of another church (Corinth) in the “support of the saints” is found in 2 Corinthians. They practiced oneness through giving monetarily to believers in need, but the oneness principle applies to any need that arises.
Look at their actions in 2 Corinthians 8:1–4: “…to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches…that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging…for the favor of participation in the support of the saints….”
As churches of the SBCV working together, Paul would assert that we exist because of God’s grace. We accomplish nothing on our own—it is all God’s plan at work (John 15:5). His plan calls for unity, and grace abounds for unity in His name (John 17:11). In my opinion, the walls of our pride divide us more than the walls of doctrine, racism, etc. We must repent and heed Jesus’ command of oneness as He and the Father are one (John 17:11)!
The Corinthian believers, by grace, had a measure of overbearing affliction, abundant joy, and deep poverty that showed their eternal wealth—their generosity! In 2 Corinthians 8:11–12, Paul presents a major revelation as a key to oneness in giving to God: “… For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have….” Did you catch that? Paul says we are to have a “readiness of desire” to give (v 11). It’s not how much we have or don’t have but about the readiness of our desire to give.
Saints of the SBCV, oh, that we would embrace practicing this oneness principle from God’s Word and allow Him to turn our human efforts into Christian obedience as we practice oneness (1 Sam. 15:22b)! Living as “the” Church rather than “a” church glorifies God and causes the world to glorify God too (Matt. 5:16)!
May we be obedient to God’s call of unity in the spirit of oneness in the “support of the saints”—that together we would be confident and comforted when we say, “You are not alone.”
All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).