A friend reminded me recently that God has always separated the light from the darkness. On His first day of creation, God commanded light into existence, called it “good,” and divided the light from the darkness. God’s word is light: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psa. 119:105). (God’s word removes the darkness.) God sent the Messiah “as a light to the Gentiles,” bringing salvation to the ends of the earth (Isa. 49:6). (Christ calls us out of darkness into His marvelous light, 1 Pet. 2:9). Jesus said He is “the light of the world” and that by following Him, we “shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (Jno. 8:12). God delivers those redeemed by the blood of Christ from the power of darkness, conveying them into the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col. 1:13-14). (God separates the redeemed from the dark power of sin and death.) God is light, and those who practice His truth walk in the light and have fellowship with Him (1 Jno. 1:5-7). And, the heavenly, eternal city of God is to be illuminated by the Lamb. There, the night is vanquished forever (Rev. 22:23-25). Yes, God separates the light from the darkness. Jesus said, “Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light” (Jno. 12:35-36). Come out of the darkness into the light truth for salvation, divine fellowship, and eternal life.
24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end. (Mark 3:24–26, NKJV)
The enemies of Jesus charged Him with casting out demons by the power of Satan (Mark 3:22-23). Jesus exposes their error by noting a fundamental principle: Chaos occurs where division exists. If their charge was true, then Satan was fighting against Satan. Division produces chaos, not calm. This principle is noteworthy incentive for us to pursue peace (Hebrews 12:14). A country at war with itself cannot long sustain the chaos of internal conflict. A divided family cannot long endure factious emotions and splintered loyalties. Christ will not indefinitely recognize and identify Himself with a church that is divided in doctrine and practice (Rev. 2:4-5). It is very wrong to think God is pleased with religious division by saying such things, as “join the church of your choice.” The chaos of doctrinal division renders this recommendation inept (not to mention unscriptural, John 17:20-21; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Ephesians 4:3). God’s kingdom is united in truth. Strong families stand on the solid rock of faith. And, God’s house stands on and upholds the truth of God (1 Timothy 3:15). Division is the work of Satan. Unity in truth is the work of God in Christ Jesus.
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 rhetorical questions answer themselves (verse 13). Christ is not divided. Paul was not crucified for you. You were not baptized in the name of Paul. Therefore, Christians cannot be “of” men, and also be “of Christ.” Christ is not divided into a multitude of different churches with opposing creeds, confessions, and catechisms. The writers and endorsers of creeds and confessions were not crucified for you. Neither were you baptized in their names. As an example, consider the Apostles’ Creed. The apostles did not die for our sins, nor were we baptized in their names. Why should we pledge allegiance to a creed that bears their name (which they neither wrote nor approved in the first place)? Yet, many will identify you as a heretic if you do not do so. Such a demand is divisive to its core. The Scriptures answer all pertinent doctrinal issues; we care not for the creeds, because they are unnecessary. Creed writers were not crucified for us, Christ was (1 Cor. 15:3). Jesus Christ is the One in whom we are baptized, not churches that were formed under the guidelines of human creeds (Matt. 28:19). In Christ, we unite. In creeds, we divide. Which do you choose?
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.