Romans 16.17,18 Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who create dissensions and obstacles contrary to the teaching that you learned. Avoid them! For these are the kind who do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By their smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of the naive.(Net Bible)
One of the things that God hates is the sowing of discord among the brethren. The division surrounding Jesus is not to exist between those who are born again, but between those who are born again and those who are lost. This is clearly seen in many places. God’s people are sheep. Those who are not born again are goats.
So, since God hates division and sowing discord, take a wild guess at one of the most effective weapons the devil uses to divide the blood bought, twice born, body of Christ? A divisive spirit. It was alive and well in Corinth. There were saints who were born again, but they were poisoned in their minds by a spirit of division. “For it hath been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by them who are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”
Later on Paul repeats this rebuke. “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?” That is heavy stuff! I can see in my mind a sign over the church door at Corinth, wear a hard hat, the devil is at work.
It is clear to me that the people Paul is referring to in our opening passages were the false brethren, the Judaizers who mixed the dietary laws and circumcision as being necessary for a person to be saved. They were preaching another Jesus. Another gospel. They were accursed and to be marked. They would be likened to Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses, who claim to be preaching Christ and His Gospel, but hold to unbiblical views of Christ and the gospel. But many people today use these passages in Romans to refer to those within the body of Christ who do not agree with them on non-foundational points of bible truth, things that are not essential for salvation. This to me is dangerous.
Beyond the absolute foundational truths of God, Christ and His gospel, and the inerrancy of Spirit-inspired Scripture, there are differences of views within the body of Christ on so many issues. Why? We see through a glass darkly. There is only one body of Christ. There are many members in this body. The eye and ear look nothing alike but need one another. If you dig deep enough into any legitimate ministry within the body of Christ, you will find some error. Only Christ’s ministry on earth was sinless, flawless.
Beware of those who tell you to mark those in the body of Christ because they do not follow their code of interpretations or style of worship, teaching or church government. Sad but true, a divisive spirit often turns into hatred and rejection. To disagree on secondary points does not make one a heretic or a false brother. But as long as the body of Christ is functioning on this carnal level, the house of God will remain divided and fighting against one another. The devil himself cannot be more pleased than when he can use the body of Christ to do his work for him. Lord have mercy on us. Selah