The maintaining of Christian unity in a church has to be a priority. We are not called to make the unity but to maintain it. It is not man-made, not even Christian-made. God has already created the unity, and our task is to display all the facets of that unity in our congregation to the world around us. Instead of the barriers preventing unity, there should be the bond of peace maintaining unity.
Peace involves at least three aspects. First, there is peace with God, which is our standing before him because we have trusted in the person and work of Jesus: ‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Rom. 5:1).
Second, there is the peace of God that each Christian can experience individually as they engage in thankful prayer: ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’ (Phil. 4:6-7).
Third, there is a corporate experience of the peace of God: ‘And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful’ (Col. 3:14-15).
Inner peace is what people are looking for and they should see it in the members of a Christian church. Such inner peace, received from Jesus himself by the Spirit, is the evidence of real unity and is a powerful influence on those who see us.