A Division Among the People

John wrote, “Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, ‘Truly this is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘This is the Christ.’ But some said, ‘Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?’ So there was a division among the people because of Him” (Jn. 7:40-43).

It is hard for some to believe, but, yes, Christ brings division. He said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matt. 10:34). Jesus was the most divisive man to ever live on earth. The doctrine about the Lord and the doctrines espoused by Him are what divide men.

Throughout the book of Acts, one group is divided from another. Believing Jews separated from unbelieving Jews (Acts 4:1-2; 6:7). The same was true of Gentiles (Acts 17:32). Among Christians, those who taught the circumcision pulled away from those who did not (Acts 15:1-2). Why should it be any different today? Is the gospel different? Certainly not (1 Pet. 1:23-25).

Division is not desirable. It indicates at least one group is in error (cf. 1 Jn. 2:18-19). Those in error will lose their souls. However, division is necessary. “For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you” (1 Cor. 11:19). The wheat must be separated from the chaff (cf. Matt. 3:12).

When the truth is taught, it will divide people, because some love the truth, while others do not (Jn. 3:19-21). Compromising for the sake of unity, is not an option for those who love God (cf. Jn. 12:42-43; 2 Jn. 9-11; Gal. 1:10). Those in error will plead for continued fellowship. Nevertheless, we must be firm in our commitment to the Lord, standing with Him, though it results in “a division among the people.”

Steven F. Deaton

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