Set apart through unity of the truth

Understanding the power of Yeshua’s prayer, the Spirit, and the word of God.

John 17:17 – Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth.
1 John 5:6 – …and it is the Spirit that is testifying, because the Spirit is the truth…

Truth is a rare commodity these days. Objective reality is giving way to personal perception. What is true for one individual is no longer necessarily considered true for another; rather, situational circumstance and opinion are considered as being the guiding standards. The truth has become fluid and fills the shape of whatever container it is represented in.

This should be concerning for believers, but not unexpected. What is happening in the world around us has been happening among the congregations of Messiah for millennia. There is so much factionism and disunity evidenced by the multiplicity of denominations that it is small wonder the world is being influenced in this direction. The inward segregations of Messiah’s believing community are being evidenced by the outworking of societal divisiveness.

Counter to this chaos runs the stability of God’s word and his Spirit, at least according to Yeshua. “Your word is truth…your Spirit is the truth.” Yeshua believed in bedrock, foundational and objective truth; so should we.

The Greek word for truth is used in the following ways throughout the New Testament:

  • universally, what is true in any matter under consideration (opposed to what is feigned, fictitious, false)
  • of a truth, in reality, in fact, certainly
  • what is true in things appertaining to God and the duties of man
  • the truth, as … opposed alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and to the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians

According to Yeshua, the truth is what sanctifies and sets apart believers from all other humans on this planet and distinguishes false groups from true. Through this sanctification by truth, we are subject to his rule and guidance.

Yeshua prayed for our unity in the truth, so that others would know that God truly sent him. If we are frustrated that the world does not recognize him, then we must realize it is because we are not fulfilling his prayer for us of unity and oneness. James says that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective,” (James 5:16); how much more so the prayer of the Son of God? I cannot envision a world in which a prayer of the Messiah would not be fulfilled.

John 17:20-22 – “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. “May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. “I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one.

The apostle Paul likewise encouraged and sought for the unity of believers:

Ephesians 4:11-15 – And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Messiah, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Messiah’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head ​– ​Messiah.

There it is again: the truth, spoken in love. This is what causes us to grow together toward maturity in Messiah. When we speak the truth, the word of God, in love, we open up opportunities to build bridges and strengthen internal ties. The truth, guided by the Spirit of God, draws us together in the Messiah and provides the goal of increased unity in our community. As we unify internally, there becomes less disunity in the outworking of our social lives and culture. This striving together in the truth of God’s word, guided by his Spirit, creates unity. This unity then reestablishes a basis for all truth, and subjective opinions once again become subject to the objective reality of God.

This is how we can become set apart for God’s purpose and bear his image and his truth to the world, fulfilling the prayer of that most righteous man, Messiah Yeshua.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

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Children of God should play nice in the sandbox

Our differences have the potential to
affect many others if we cannot reconcile.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 – See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.

When we are unforgiving toward others, it’s easy for us to repay evil for evil, to repay in kind toward an injustice that may have been directed toward us.

However, Paul here is encouraging the believers to look beyond the injustice to what is good, not only for one another (through a relationship crisis), but good for all concerned.

We tend to lose sight of the fact that all of our relationships have many different tendrils of association beyond just the isolated relationship itself. If an injustice is committed between two friends, the recognition of that injustice can become known to the other associates and friends of that relationship, and can affect many other individuals.

For example, if a romantic couple breaks up due to some differences, then the friends of the couple, who may now know each other independently of the couple who is breaking up, will be affected by the break up. They may choose to continue their relationships as friends, but will need to socially navigate around the issue with the now detached couple-friends.

This is the way issues spread throughout congregations, as well. When social stresses become active within certain relationship groups, it can spread throughout a congregation through shared connections. In the extreme, it can lead to congregations mistrust and sometimes even cause group to split into several groups if it cannot be reconciled.

But therein lies the key to its solution; reconciliation. Paul here is stressing that when these situations arise, that all parties concerned should seek the good of others for the sake of all. What affects one relationship can easily spread beyond the immediate affected group to the wider group through shared connections and relationships. Because of this, the web of unity can become brittle and break.

Paul’s solution is simple, although not always easy: don’t repay evil for evil. If someone has become offended or emotionally hurt in some way, they should not respond in kind, but should seek reconciliation through communicating the offense and working through it until a peaceful result can be achieved. This is a mature response to the casual injustices that occur every day and this should be the evident solution among all believers.

When we are always pursuing what is good for others and for all, we will be operating as peacemakers, and the strength of unity will be reinforced. In this, we can be recognized as acting as true children of God.

Matthew 5:9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive at https://core-of-the-bible.simplecast.com/ or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvR_aNEyA7WEZJtF4B8fZ6g

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Outward strength through internal compassion and unity

Compassion and unity with one another provides a foundation for reaching others.

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be compassionate, and keep a humble attitude.

1 Peter 3:8-14

According to Peter, being compassionate is simply one of many expected traits believers should exhibit. The compassion he is speaking of here is extended not just to those outside of the faith, but to one another. If we cannot be compassionate with one another, how can we be truly compassionate towards others who are not believers?

For us to be truly compassionate with others, we should be operating from a base of harmony with one another, and recognizing one another’s needs sympathetically. Once we are able to show brotherly love to each other through humility and compassionate actions, we can then have a united purpose with those outside the faith.

Once he establishes their base actions with one another, Peter expands his directives to their attitude toward others who did not agree with their positions or their beliefs.

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.” Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.

1 Peter 3:9-14

This was a very real assessment of the social status of the early believers. They were always in danger not only from the civil strife of their day, but from the religious antagonism and persecution of their Jewish brothers and sisters. Additionally, they were challenged with resisting the influences of the pagan society. Through all of this, Peter encourages them to repay evil with blessing and seeking to maintain the peace, because “this is what God has called you to do.”

In like fashion, for us to fulfill our calling, we should mimic their harmony, humility and compassionate actions with one another so we may be able to effectively stand together for God’s purpose and kingdom in a hostile world.

If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive here.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.