Jesus is the union of believers, the connection which unites Christian with Christian. The local church is a reality because those who join together in a local assembly are already joined together in Christ. He is the vine, we are the branches. We share the same relationship to one another that the branches of an oak share with one another. Christians share the same relationship with one another that the parts of your body share with one another. We are joined to one another by our bond to the giver of Life.
Jesus is the believer’s union and the church’s unity. Apart from Jesus there is no true unity in the church. Kevin Bauder describes fellowship as a function of what we have in common. The more we have in common with one another, the greater our fellowship will be. Those who share a common fondness for a team will have one level of fellowship. Those who share a common history, upbringing and life experience will have an entirely different level of fellowship. Fellowship is not just built on experiences or preferences. Fellowship is also based on shared inherent commonalities. Sharing inherent traits in common often results in deeper levels of fellowship than sharing preferences or opinions. That is why adopted children often go to great lengths to find their biological family. That is why many cling tightly to the culture of their ancestors despite being raised in a time and place far removed from their historical roots. We also know the more deeply held a passion the stronger the basis of fellowship it becomes. Those who are mildly interested in fishing may have friendly conversation about the activity, but fishing will not sustain a deep relationship. When two meet who have devoted their lives to science, that passion for knowledge love can sustain a long enduring relationship. Christian unity is a combination of essential commonality and deep devotion. We are siblings in the family of God who share a great love for God.
Christian unity has one other mark that makes it greater than any other fellowship in this world. Christian unity is reminiscent of Trinitarian unity. Jesus prayed to God the Father that Christians “may be one, as we are.” Trinitarian unity is perfect, eternal and inseparable. The Father and the Son have everything in common. Their commonality is infinite because they are infinite. They share in common an infinite and perfect character. They eternally love the same things, share the same goals and work together in full agreement. The Father, Son and Spirit are truly One. They have an eternal oneness that produces an infinite fellowship.
The goal for Christian unity is unity like that of the members of the Trinity. Christians have been joined together by their union with the Son of God. This union allows us to enter into communion with the Triune God. This union produces an eternal unity our fellow Christian. Christians are actually and eternally joined together in Jesus. We do not have to create unity. Christ has done that. We must fight to preserve the unity which is already ours in Jesus.