One In Christ Jesus
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,
27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
For a number of years, I used to have Bible study and fellowship with the Military Christian Fellowship (MCF). The MCF has many small group meetings within the different camps. Some of the various units within the Army headquarters have regular Bible study and fellowship in small groups during lunch time throughout the week.
Once a month, the entire MCF will meet to worship together during lunch time at a nearby church which is located in the same grounds as the Army headquarters. It is a beautiful sight to witness the unity of the believers, regardless of rank to sing praises to God.
The military salute is a long-standing tradition of military forces around the world and it is the most visible and known gesture of military protocol to the average civilian. Salutes are usually rendered by an officer or enlisted soldier to an officer of equal or higher rank. The officer, while not necessarily obligated to return the salute, almost universally does. Not returning the salute is a show of disrespect and condescension, which reflects poorly on the salutee.
The beauty of the fellowship amongst the officers of the MCF is such that though they participate in the lunch-time worship session in their uniform with their ranks in full view, no salutation is practiced. As servants of the Most High God, they quickly become fully aware that it is necessary to forget about their rank and status as they need only give their respect and honour to God Almighty, who is above all. He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He unites all of us and we all bow before Him in worship regardless of our ranks and status in life.
It is really a good testimony to those who do not know Christ as they are surprised that the officers of higher ranks are humble enough to forgo the recognition of their ranks for the sake of unity in Christ. By their show of humility, there is greater bonding amongst the military brothers and sisters in Christ as they join in unison to sing and praise God together in the unity of spirit.
In our churches, no members should ever need to be made conscious of the race or status of the other church members as we serve God and serve one another in humility under the Lordship of Christ. If we ever feel conscious, we must immediately surrender that to the Lord, remembering that Christ has died to set us free from such man-made divisions, which serve to isolate us rather than unite us.
We must make it a habit to put away all consciousness of our race or status, be it whether we are feeling higher or lower than others, so that we can worship God together in unity. Whatever our race, whatever our status in life due to our type of occupation or our social standing, we are to be like Paul who declares that “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8)
If we were ever raised or taught to discriminate certain races or certain status in society, we must surrender it to God. On the other hand, we may also suffer from low self-esteem and may experience self-discrimination. At such times, we must also immediately remind ourselves that we are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus and that we are all one in Christ Jesus.
When we put aside all our man-made social rankings, it sets us free to be united in Christ as one people. In this way, we can worship together truly as one united body of Christ.
Let us pray together.
Heavenly Father, it is Your love that binds all of us together as Your children. It is by Your love that all of us can stand together to worship and serve You in unity. Help me to always remember You have called all Your disciples to be united as one body of Christ. Help me during those moments of weakness when I focus on how others are different from me, and lead me to focus on how we are one in Christ Jesus. May many come to know You as Lord and Savior when all Your children stand as one worshiping and serving You. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.