The Hebrew Scriptures teach endurance to live in complete harmony with each other
Jesus Christ puts a strong emphasis on the importance of harmony in the church. Read A Modern-Day Parable of Romans 14 (How to avoid conflicts in the church)
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 NIV)
- According to Merriam-Webster, endurance is defined to be
- the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially : the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity a marathon runner’s endurance and
- the act or an instance of enduring or suffering endurance of many hardships.
Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. (1 Corinthians 10:6 NLT)
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. (1 Corinthians 10:11 NLT)
What things were written for hope, encouragement, examples, and warnings?
All scripture from Genesis 1:1 to Malachi 4:6 was written for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In particular, there are several overviews recorded by God’s divine providence for our understanding. These show the common tendency of mankind to cry out for God in time of trouble, be rescued by God’s mercy and grace, serve him for a little while until laziness comes from the peace and safety, which leads to turning away from God in stubborn pride, and suffering the penalties of sin. Repent, rescue, restoration, rest, remissness, retrograde, wrong, wrath, wreckage. Repeat!
When the Israelites were in Egypt and cried out to the Lord, he sent Moses and Aaron to rescue them from Egypt and to bring them into this land. But the people soon forgot about the Lord their God, so he handed them over to Sisera, the commander of Hazor’s army, and also to the Philistines and to the king of Moab, who fought against them. “Then they cried to the Lord again and confessed, ‘We have sinned by turning away from the Lord and worshiping the images of Baal and Ashtoreth. But we will worship you and you alone if you will rescue us from our enemies.’ Then the Lord sent Gideon, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel to save you, and you lived in safety. (1 Samuel 12:8-11)
- History of Israel (Psalm 78)
- God’s Faithfulness to Israel (Psalm 105)
- A Confession of Israel’s Sins (Psalm 106)
- God’s Work in Creation and History (Psalm 136)
- Ezra’s prayer (Nehemiah 9)
- Stephen’s testimony (Acts 7)
- Paul’s defense before Agrippa (Acts 26)
As history shows, everybody in the world is somewhere on that cycle. If you have been rescued by God and are living in peace, be careful that you don’t become lazy and forget about God. If you see someone else who has fallen in sin and is suffering in distress, remember you have been there, and help them recognize their condition and cry out to God. Don’t condemn anybody who is in a different part of the cycle than you are. This requires wisdom, patience, and endurance, which is obtained from God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Harmony is the result of living a Christ-like life
The Apostle John especially wrote about the love of God and the resulting love for one another. He left a legacy of love that still endures after thousands of years: John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John. This requires us to have the same attitude as Jesus Christ (Philippians 2). Remember, you were saved from an awful condition (Romans 1:18-32) and restored to fellowship with him (Ephesians 2). Therefore, treat others the same way he treated you.
Bless those who persecute you. Bless them, and don’t curse them. Be happy with those who are happy. Be sad with those who are sad. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be arrogant, but be friendly to humble people. Don’t think that you are smarter than you really are. Don’t pay people back with evil for the evil they do to you. Focus your thoughts on those things that are considered noble. As much as it is possible, live in peace with everyone. Don’t take revenge, dear friends. Instead, let God’s anger take care of it. After all, Scripture says, “I alone have the right to take revenge. I will pay back, says the Lord.” But, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you will make him feel guilty and ashamed.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil with good. (Romans 12:14-21 NLT)
For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.” (Romans 15:3 NLT)
- The suffering of Christ for you (Psalm 69)
- The example of Christ’s suffering (1 Peter 2:18-25)
- The suffering and glory of Christ (Isaiah 53)
Finally, everyone must live in harmony, be sympathetic, love each other, have compassion, and be humble. Don’t pay people back with evil for the evil they do to you, or ridicule those who ridicule you. Instead, bless them, because you were called to inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:8-9 GWT)
Living in harmony is proof that you are a follower of Jesus Christ?
If you are a true follower of Jesus Christ, then you will do the things he did. You will love as he loved. You will care as he cared. You will put others first like he did.
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. (Romans 15:5-7 NLT)
If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. (1 John 3:14 NLT)
So, let me ask you some questions…
- Are you living in complete harmony with every other believer, or are you isolated in a sectarian group that only has fellowship with its own members?
- Are reaching out to the world like Jesus Christ reached out to the world, or are you stuck inside the walls of your sectarian group without any effect on the world?
- So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. … Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. (James 2:14-26)
Lack of harmony is proof of unbelief and sin
The continually present sense of your sins having been once for all forgiven, is the strongest stimulus to live for God (Psalm 130:4; John 13:10; Hebrews 10:2). When you recognize this in your life, it is easy to have the endurance to live in harmony with others. But, if you don’t have this, there is no motivation for the endurance required to live in harmony with others. Therefore, harmony with all of God’s people throughout the world is the proof of your salvation and walk with the Lord.
If you really fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” said also, “Do not kill.” If you do not commit adultery but do kill, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:8:13)
- What about “closed” or “separatist” fundamentalism?
- Mankind has divided and conquered! God is not impressed.
- What is “Sectarian”?
- The sin of sectarianism
If you have forgotten that you were cleansed from your old sins and have become blind and shortsighted (2 Peter 1), return to God and cry out for the times of refreshing. If you have had victory in this concept, please write to us or share your testimony in the comments below. If you are struggling with this concept, please write to us or join the conversation below.