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Dear COA Family,

What is the basis of our unity as the people of God?

The apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4:4-6:
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

In other words, our unity is based on God and his work accomplished through our Lord Jesus Christ in our lives, and not based on anything we do. We are therefore called to maintain this unity among us in the bond of peace. That is, not to quarrel and take offence over minor issues.

Why am I raising this up at this time?

This is because there are many man-made issues that can divide our unity in the body of Christ. We should recognise that these factors are not legitimate ones to be divided over. God’s unity achieved through the Spirit of God should be placed above all!

One current issue is the Presidential elections in Singapore coming up in a few days’ time. For the first time in years, Singaporeans will have the opportunity to go to the polls to choose the next President of Singapore. And many citizens have strong views about who it should be.

This is also the case among the Christian community in Singapore. Many members with whom I have spoken have strong views about who is suitable as the next President. In fact, there are also prominent Singaporean Christian leaders who have gone public on Facebook stating why a certain candidate is suitable and even castigating others for holding an alternative view and supporting other candidates.

I find this unhelpful because our unity in Christ transcends our political views. Our choices of candidates should not cause us to think that others who think otherwise are unworthy of being our brothers or sisters. Rejecting one another over different political views cheapens the gospel and grace of Christ!

What God has done to save us is infinitely greater than our differences of view across the political spectrum. That is why you will never hear me share my political views not because I don’t have any, but because I am the pastor over the entire flock of God in COA, whether you are a government or opposition supporter. And everyone of us is accepted in the body of Christ by the grace of God! (Of course, if there is a candidate who possesses a serious moral flaw or espouses clearly unchristian views; we would have to take a stand.)

So church, in this coming week, let’s do two things:
Firstly, pray that God by his grace will appoint the right candidate to be the Singapore President through the electoral process. And secondly, accept and embrace one another regardless of the political views we may hold. For God’s grace and salvation accomplished in our lives is greater than any of man’s work, to let it divide us and destroy the precious we have in the Spirit.

God bless,
Revd Ian