The appeal for unity is frequent in Paul’s writings, especially with such diverse congregations of slaves and the poor and Gentiles and Jews: “Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion” (Rom 12:15).
The verb in 2 Corinthians 13:11 means to “think about this, develop this attitude of mind.”
This is not a superficial legalistic conformity but an inward attitude toward how we think about each other and how we treat each other.
Paul’s prayer for such harmony is evident in Romans 15:5: “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like–minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In Philippians, Paul explained the meaning of this oneness of mind: “Fulfill my joy by being like–minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Phil 2:2). The next verses describe this oneness: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better [more important] than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (2:3–-4).
This commitment to the attitude of Christ is not just an individual obligation but a responsibility of the church to team together to practice the same unity that is experienced within the Godhead itself. John 17:21 is not just a euphemism but a genuine goal for the churches: “[I pray] that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
Paul explains in part how this works out in practice: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor 1:10). This corporate testimony of unity is a powerful evangelistic testimony.
Instead of arguing over minor issues, let us unite over the main practice of the commands and agree to encourage and help each other obey them for His honor.
“Forgive me, Lord, for wanting to avoid others who disagree with me and especially for not wanting to help them or care for them. I have so much to learn from You.”
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