Water and oil don’t mix. I am a car guy and whenever they do get together the outcome for the engine is not good. Water in a crankcase drains out first, the oil is lighter but the result is a damaged engine unless caught early. Do you use vinegar and oil on a salad? The salad dressing has to be shaken up, but naturally separates quickly enough. But we still like to try. Or how about combining vinegar and limestone (remember playing in the backyard or elementary science projects.) There was a foaming reaction, even more so if you had some baking soda. Some things just do not unite well.
But people try to unite things often with disastrous results. Such is the case when Christians (often well intending) attempt to accommodate or compromise with worldly thinking for the sake of ‘unity’. This has happened too often over the past few decades causing some churches to become unrecognizable in terms of Biblical faith. Combining with the spirit of the ‘world’ is destructive. And speaking of reactions (though not immediately violent) ever left something out for a period of time exposed to the natural ‘worldly’ elements. I left a good pair of garden shears out over the winter, did not find them until the next summer. They were very rusty. It took a lot of work to restore them (return them to their intended purpose). They had been exposed to the wrong things (rain) for too long, and had combined (for geeks, a combination reaction from chemistry class) to form iron oxide, ‘rust’. This simple observation serves as a cautionary warning for the follower of Jesus against too much time in secular entertainments or pursuits, social media, television, etc.
The Israelites had walked away from God, embracing the practices of their heathen neighbors. God was about to punish them, but before that God wanted to get them to consider their misguided (sinful) ways. The prophet Amos was given this to say:
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3 KJV
The Israelites had lost their identity and their usefulness. God wanted to point this out in hopes that they would listen. Unfortunately for them they didn’t and the result was to be swept into captivity. The northern tribes disappeared thereafter. Their distinctiveness was forever lost.
As this article’s title suggests, there can be false unity and we as the people of God must guard against it at all costs. Paul cautions bluntly:
“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial (an Old Testament word for the devil) Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” 2 Corinthians 6:14-15
We are to invite the lost and the unbelieving, but on God’s terms. And they have to be willing to meet with us. Another translation (ESV) of the Amos passage sheds different light:
“Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?”
God does not force himself on us (and we can’t on our neighbors). There must be some agreement to meet. It is worth recognizing that there have been and will ever be attempts at false unity. Our only real unity is at the foot of the cross before king Jesus. We build from that!