You in Me, and I in you (John 14:20, NKJV) expresses the intimate relationship we need to have with Jesus. The presence of Jesus in our hearts produces unity. He brings to our lives two things that are indispensable for unity: the divine Word and divine love.
If we have Jesus, we will also have His words, which are actually the words of the Father (John 14:24; John 17:8, 14). Jesus is
the truth (John 14:6), and the Word of the Father
is truth, as well (John 17:17). Unity in Jesus means unity in the Word of God. In order to have unity, we need to agree on the content of the truth as presented in the Word of God. Any attempt to attain unity without adherence to a body of biblical beliefs is destined to failure.
The Lord also wants His followers to be united by true love. If we have Jesus, we will have the perfect love the Father has for the Son (John 17:26). This love is not a temporary emotion or feeling but a living and permanent principle of action. In order to have true love, we must have less of self and more of Jesus. Our selfish pride must die, and Jesus must live in us. Then we will truly and sincerely love one another, making the perfect unity that Jesus prayed for possible.
When those who claim to believe the truth are sanctified through the truth, when they learn of Christ, His meekness, and lowliness, there will be complete and perfect unity in the church. — Ellen G. White, The Signs of the Times,\AE September 19, 1900.
It has not always been easy to maintain a high view of truth and to have deep love for one another at the same time. There is always the risk of emphasizing one at the expense of the other. There was a time when doctrine alone was considered the most important element for unity. Fortunately, this lack of balance has been gradually corrected. Today, however, we run the risk of going to the other extreme: to think that love is more important than truth for unity. We need to remember that love without truth is blind, and truth without love is fruitless. Mind and heart must work together.
The apostolic church exhibited the unity for which Christ prayed.
They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine [truth] and fellowship [love] (Acts 2:42, NKJV).