In his Commentary on the Book of Titus, John Calvin writes that:
Every person who, by his overweening pride, breaks up the unity of the church, is pronounced by Paul to be a “heretic.” . . . In a word, heresy . . . and the unity of the Church – are things totally opposite to each other. Since the unity of the Church is dear to God, it ought to be held by us in the highest estimation, we ought to entertain the strongest abhorrence of heresy.
The Bible is very clear that unity is important to God. The peace and harmony of the church are very dear to Him and, therefore, anything that hinders our unity is considered “heresy.” Anything that divides the church unnecessarily is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
In John 17:21, Jesus prayed “that we may all be one even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You.” Jesus had one final prayer to offer before He died. He had one final request to make of the Father and He prayed for unity. He prayed that the church would not be divided but that it would be one. It is for this reason that Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:3 to “be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” We should be diligent to preserve our unity as a church. We should work hard for the thing that Jesus prayed for. First Peter 3:8 also says, “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, and kindhearted.”
Which leads us to some of Paul’s final words in the Book of Titus. He writes in 3:9-11:
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.
Paul says that unity is so important to God that a factious man should be rejected from the church. It is so important that you should turn away anyone who would divide it over foolish controversies. Such a person is perverted and self-condemned because, as Calvin writes, “they sin willfully of their own accord.” In other words, they should know better than to do that.
This is serious stuff but there is a time to reject someone in the church. There is a time to say, “You cannot come in here.” “You have to stay away.” And that is what we will be talking about this Sunday morning at 9:30 at Grace Fellowship Church. If you have ever wondered how important unity is to God, this is how important it is. It is important enough to throw out anyone who threatens it. It is important enough to reject a factious man. If you have ever wondered how serious God is about His church, this is how serious He is. He is serious enough to make this a command for us. This is not optional for Christians. As uncomfortable as it is, we are all expected to take part in the discipline of divisive people, so please join us as we look at this subject together. Join us as we study this sobering passage of Scripture. We meet at 46024 Riverside Drive in Chilliwack. We hope to see you there! – Jeremy Cagle