I have always loved math. It is concrete. It has rules. Unlike grammar, there are not hundreds of exceptions and exceptions to the exceptions. 2 + 2 is always 4. Yet even in math, there is a negative (no pun intended). Adding and subtracting are basic and needed. Multiplication is fun and exciting. Division, however, is not so good. That is especially true in the church. In the church, division is never, ever good.
There is a place for addition in the church. Adding to God's word is wrong (Rev. 22:18). But there are still so many good additions to be made in the church. It was - and is - always a blessing to have members added to the body of Christ (Acts 2:41, 47; 5:14; 11:24). Adding to our faith is necessary and good (II Peter 1:5ff). Yet, in the church, division is never, ever good.
There is a place for subtraction in the church. Taking away from God's word is wrong (Rev. 22:19). But there are still so many good subtractions made in the church. Through Christ, we can have our sins subtracted (Rom. 11:27; I John 3:5). The veil that separated us from God has been taken away (II Cor. 3:16). The Old Covenant was taken away for a better one (Heb. 10:9). Yet, in the church, division is never, ever good.
There is a place for multiplication in the church. It is great when the word of God is multiplied (Acts 12:24). It is great that a knowledge of that word multiplies grace and peace (II Pet. 1:2). It is great that God can take what little we can offer and multiply it to great things (II Cor. 9:10). Through Christ, mercy, peace, and love are multiplied (Jude 2). Yet, in the church, division is never, ever good.
No, in the church, division is never, ever good. Division is caused because people will not accept nor submit to Christ (Lk. 12:51; Jn. 7:43; 9:16; 10:19; Acts 14:4). Division within the church - no matter the reason for which one might try to justify it - is always condemned (I Cor. 1:10). A divided house cannot stand (Mt. 12:25). Division keeps brethren from worshipping together (I Cor. 11:18). It causes brethren not to care for each other (I Cor. 12:25).
Christ has not been divided (I Cor. 1:13). Yet there are a great many who seek to divide His body. They come in the name of skin color, politics, social standing, nationality, occupation, background, etc. In reality the ones who cause divisions are "worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit" (Jude 9). They teach us to be so swelled up with pride that we can never put ourself in another's shoes and see from their standpoint. Instead of following the example of Christ (I Pet. 2:21), we allow division to cause us to commit sin against one another. We play fast and loose with facts and deceive. We return revile for revile. We utter threats. We forget to entrust ourselves to Him who judges righteously (I Peter 2:22-23). You see, in the church, division is never, ever good.
Evil forces work to divide our country and our communities. No, it is not worse than it has ever been - man has been divided since Cain and Able. That we are allowing it to fester in the church, though, is truly sad. This is also not new. From the Jew-Gentile struggles of the First Century to the segregated congregations of the 20th and 21st Centuries, we keep trying to bring division into the Lord's Church. Still, in the church, division is never, ever good.
Let's stop arguing. Let's stop finger pointing. Let's stop being brought down into the muck of the world. My allegiance to my race, my state, my country, my family, my political party, my occupation, my school - even my allegiance to myself - should have been put aside when I pledged my allegiance to Christ. May we set the example of Christ in order to ADD to His body. May we SUBTRACT the hate, prejudice, arguments, and improper allegiances in our lives. May we MULTIPLY God's Word, peace, love, mercy, and grace wherever we go. And may it never be said of us - not for one second - we were guilty of bringing DIVISION into the church. You see, in the church, division is never, ever good.