Featured in the September, 2013 Issue of the Ashburn Baptist News
“Do I have to change to be a member of Ashburn Baptist?”
Change to be like whom? Every member is different! God loves diversity. No two snowflakes are the same, and His entire creation reflects this variety.
But, if every member is different, how can a church hold together? Because unity does not require uniformity.
Paul’s illustration of a church is a body, and he says, “the body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts” (I Corinthians 12:12). Some are Jews, others Greeks, some slave, and others free, but they are all in the same body. One member is a foot, another a hand, another an ear, and still another an eye, and yet there is “one body” (vs. 20). Of course, there is diversity, but notice that there is “no division” (vs. 25).
The “unity of the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:3) is obviously a spiritual unity and does not mean that each member is popped out of the same matrix. The strength of a real biblical church is the variety of skills and gifts.
Of course, a real Christian is one who is in the process of being changed for does it not say, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:18). But, this does not mean changing to be like another Christian, but each Christian changing to be like Christ because the Scripture says we “are being transformed into His likeness” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Some sect with its man-made rules may pride itself on an outward conformity by its adherents, but a biblical church has not an artificial but an actual unity; not a superficial, but a spiritual unity described by the Apostle as “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 4:4-6).
The standard is not the saints, but the Savior. We are free from aping one another that we might be free to be “imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1).
The better one conforms to Christ the better member he will be of the Lord’s church.