Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:3-6
There is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and by the time we get to God the Father (who is over all and through all and in all), we are all on the same page. That is why this is so important. Our unity rests on what’s inside.
Undoubtedly you’ve seen the “Intel inside” logo in the lower corner of many computers and computer product ads. I normally don’t like corporate logos that are translated into Christian messages like “Jesus is the real thing,” but I would like to borrow the Intel logo to have it be a reminder of what believers everywhere have in common. We have the Holy Spirit inside, and like an official stamp of authenticity, we are one already with all who have it, and in this time of great division and diversity, we need to focus on that which makes us one.
This is what Paul means to “keep” (“preserve” or “maintain”) the unity of the Spirit. We don’t create it. We don’t try to get everyone to agree on everything. We already have this unity given what’s inside. The church is not a conglomeration of individuals who happen to agree upon certain things. It is bound together as an organism in a bodily unity in spite of our differences. It’s the Holy Spirit inside creating the unity.
In other words, we won’t agree on everything, or even on much. We will have different views and perspectives on many things, including even our interpretation of the scriptures, but our unity remains because of what’s inside. The Holy Spirit’s inside.
To let friction arise over our differences is to ignore Paul’s directive to keep the unity in the Spirit through the bond of peace. We have one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father over us all. We can disagree on a hundred different things, but if we share these things, we will maintain our unity in Christ. Or we can try to agree on a hundred different things and not give attention to the Spirit or the Lord in the center of our lives, and we will be no more than a country club or an association of like-minded people.
For instance, Catholics and Protestants can worship and fellowship talking about the things of Christ — and this is regardless of the long-standing history of disagreement between the Catholic and Protestant points of view — because we enter together into the experience of the unity of the Spirit, produced by the operation of the Holy Spirit in us. Contrast that to the religious wars fought for hundreds of years over these same differences. That is why Paul says to “keep the unity in the bond of peace.” For the sake of peace with one another, we focus on the unity of what’s inside.
People are crying out for unity today. What a time this is to embrace what can happen in a diverse body of Christ that is bound together in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This can only happen when we are diligently active at maintaining the unity of the Spirit that we already have inside. It will take work, but only to get to it — not to find it or create it, since this unity comes through the Spirit and He is already there.