Question: Please discuss the sin of division; or is it actually all that much sin?
Answer: The basic principle of sin is rebellion against God and His expressed will; disobedience to His Word a transgression of His law. Hence, division is obviously a very grave sin because it is in total contradiction to the whole of the teachings of the New Testament regarding the relationship of the children of God with one another. We read in I John 3:4, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” Since division is a total transgression of the whole basic law governing the relationship of saints with one another (unity and oneness), it is unquestionably a sin.
Paul said to the Corinthian Church, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (I Corinthians 1:10.) Division is a contradiction of this scripture.
Romans 15:5-6 says, “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Division violates this scripture; hence, it is sin.
In John 17 we have recorded Jesus’ high priestly prayer for His disciples and their successors down through this age of time the Church of God. In verses 21 and 23 we read, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me…. and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” This was Christ’s last prayer for His church before He suffered. He went from the place where He prayed this prayer directly to the Garden of Gethsemane; from there to judgment, and from there to Calvary.
Since this was the last prayer He would ever pray for His church while in His flesh, we can be assured He was praying for the things which lay the closest to His heart, and this matter of the unity of believers lay on His heart to the extent that He devoted three entire verses (90 words) to this matter. Therefore, division manifests a blatant, flagrant disregard for the burden and will of God for His Church as expressed in His tenderest moments. Therefore, it is not just an ordinary sin among sins, but is a flagrant affront to God; hence a sin of great magnitude.
Also, we see in this prayer that the relationship of believers with one another is the same as the relationship of believers with God and Christ. Jesus said in verse 21, “…as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:…” I Corinthians 6:17 says, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” Now if all believers who are joined unto the Lord are one spirit with the Lord, how could there possibly be anything other than one spirit among the true children of God? There couldn’t. We read in I Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,…and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” We see here that becoming members of the body of Christ is a spiritual process, and the maintaining of the unity, or oneness, in the body of Christ is by a continual drinking into the one Spirit. Hence, there could not possibly be any division in the body of Christ unless some cease to drink into that one Spirit and imbibe another spirit. There is a spirit of division, and it is a bad one. Division is in total violation of this whole scope of teaching, and hence is a transgression of God’s law and is sin.
I Corinthians 12:27 says, “Now ye are the body of Christ,…” The Church, composed of true believers, is the body of Christ. Therefore, any division within it would constitute a dismembering of Christ’s body, which could not possibly be looked upon as a light thing by anyone with a conscience. Anyone would have to have his conscience seared to feel comfortable in a division.
We read in Romans 16:17-18, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” We see here that those who engage in such practices are serving their own interests and have some personal ends to gain “They serve their own belly.” I have never seen one who gets off course and takes up with a doctrine contrary to what we have learned, but that he has a proud, exalted spirit and feels he is out a jump ahead of all the others. I have had them tell me, “I got this light by earnestly praying and seeking God; you just pray some more and you will come to it, too.” That is far from the humble, lowly Spirit of Christ.
Divisions usually come about over points of doctrine; but sometimes they develop through a party spirit lining up behind different leaders, and affected by individuals and personalities. But there is a very strong indictment laid down in God’s Word against all who would assay to preach another gospel (doctrine). In Galatians 1:8-9 we read, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” The advocates of new and strange doctrines argue, “We have new light now and have discovered that the doctrine we once believed in was not correct, and we have the right doctrine now.” My answer is that the doctrine I believe in and wherein I stand is the doctrine this Evening Light Reformation was built on, and God has set His seal to it, confirmed it with signs following and mighty signs and wonders were wrought in the Name of His holy child Jesus, and I will just continue in it and advise all the other saints to do the same.
In II John 10-11 we read again, “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” Paul said in Acts 20:30-31 that right among themselves men would arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them, and urged them to watch, and reminded them that for three years he had not ceased to warn everyone with tears. We see here that seducers and division makers are to be warned against and avoided.
In I Corinthians 3:1-9 we see that Paul’s comments to them who divide over individuals and personalities are not very complimentary either. There is just no place given in the Scriptures for any schism in the body of Christ. In I Corinthians 12:25 we read, “That there should be no schism [division] in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”