12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:12–13, NKJV)
The apostle Paul identified and rebuked congregational division in the Corinthian church, using himself and Apollos figuratively to make his point (1 Cor. 4:6). Lining up after men, no matter how seasoned, how reputed, how respected, is sin against the Lord. Religious division diminishes Christ by elevating the will and wishes of men. Paul’s rhetorical questions remove all doubt: Christ is not divided. Christ alone was crucified for us. To divide and follow any other is an affront to that sacrifice. Sinners are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, not by the authority of men (Acts 2:38). Division exerts the authority of men and defies the authority of Christ. Anyone who thinks such division among Christians is sanctioned by God, has forgotten the price Christ paid for our sins and His supreme authority over us.
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10, NKJV)
Division among the Corinthian Christians prompted the apostle to literally beg them to restore the fracture. Just as fishermen mend their nets, their minds and judgment needed to be completely joined together (see the same word in Mk. 1:19). Carnal rancor is sinful, preventing the unity that is to characterize disciples of Jesus (1 Cor. 3:3-4). The apostle did not urge these saints to “agree to disagree”, but to work together toward having “no divisions”. This was not the ecumenical plea to “agree to disagree”; it was a plea for true unity in Christ. Unity is therefore desirable, commanded and attainable by those who have been called “into the fellowship of His Son” through the gospel (1 Cor. 1:9). The word of the cross leads us to unity in the church, in our marriages, and in every other godly relationship.