[Jesus prayed,] “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21)
“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently [divided]…” Abraham Lincoln, June 16, 1858, Address to the Republican Convention
Our country was never more vulnerable to the attack of other nations than during the Civil War. President Lincoln knew this all too well, which is why, when beginning his Address to the Republican Convention, he chose to use these eternally true words of Jesus Christ.
So, why does the devil work so hard to drive wedges between the people of God. Jesus told us why: “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls.” “Indeed, the more I come to know the Lord’s heart,” wrote Francis Frangipane, “the more I am convinced that disunity among the people of God is the work of hell.” In the 4th century, Emperor Constantine said: “Division in the church is worse than war, because it involves eternal souls.”
Satan, working tirelessly to fragment the Body of Christ, appears to understand the following biblical principle more than many Christians: United, the New Testament church assumes the position, nature, and power of what Jesus intended it to be – what He prayed for it to be: an unstoppable force. C.S. Lewis’ Uncle Screwtape wrote to his demon apprentice, Wormwood, [A united Body of Christ is] “a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy.”
“I will build My church,” Jesus said, “and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not prevail [overpower it.] (Matthew 16:18)
As seen in the passage from John’s gospel, cited at the top, Jesus prayed specifically that we “may be one.” Frangipane observes, “If Jesus is eternally praying for our oneness, then we must recognize that Satan is continually fighting against it. The devil knows that when we become one with Christ and, through Him, one with each other, it is only a matter of time before this Jesus-built church will destroy the empire of hell!”
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick
Quotes from Francis Frangipane are from, “A House United: How Christ-Centered Unity Can End Church Division”; 2005.