“Being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
The key to peace in the church is selfless love.
People often delude themselves that there is peace when there is no real peace (Jer. 8:11). However, we can show the world that Jesus is the true peacemaker if we have a community of peaceful, loving, united believers. Others will realize then that Christ must be sent from God, because only God can make true, lasting peace.
“The bond of peace” is what holds our unity together. The Greek word translated “bond” refers to a belt. It pictures the Body of Christ being wrapped with the belt of peace, a peace that is born of love.
Our bond of peace is vital to our testimony. As Christians, we have “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1) and “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18), the privilege of telling others how they may have peace with God. If we don’t have peace among ourselves, why would unbelievers look to us to find peace with God?
The Corinthian church teaches us how not to have peace. Members would have a “love feast,” followed by Communion. Apparently, though, those who brought food gorged themselves and became drunk, leaving the poorer believers to go hungry (1 Cor. 11:17-22). Those gluttons not only dishonored the Lord but also hurt their fellow believers, causing resentment and conflict.
During their worship services, everyone wanted attention. Paul laments, “Each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation” (1 Cor. 14:26)—and they all wanted to speak at once. They weren’t interested in building up each other, only in being heard. The result was a loud, confusing mess.
The Corinthians’ disharmony was evident in different ways, but the root cause was the same: selfishness.
So where does peace come from? Selflessness, the primary characteristic of Christian love. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.” We must humble ourselves and focus on the needs of others. When that happens, there will be harmony and unity.
Suggestions for Prayer
Confess any selfishness, and ask God to help you grow in selfless love.
For Further Study
What does Romans 8:6 equate peace with? Memorize this verse during the next few days.
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur