Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Monday, 17 September 2012

What is the church? (Eph. 2:19-22)

In these verses Paul uses three images to illustrate the church of Jesus: it is a city, a household and a temple. 

The three images tell us what each church should be like in that they suggest unity, diversity, participation and growth. 

Unity. There is only one city, one family and one building as far as God is concerned. Our sins and weaknesses, down through the centuries, have hidden the visible unity, and this should give us great sorrow. The unity of the universal church should be reflected in all local churches.

Diversity. The church is also a diversity: citizens have different responsibilities, members of a family have different roles, and stones in a building have different appearances; similarly each believer has his or her own contribution to make to the life of the church, and the contribution of each is needed.

Participation. The church also requires participation by its members. Involvement was necessary in defending a city from attack, in maintaining family relationships, and we can see how fragile a building would become if a stone decided to opt out.

Growth. The church will not be complete until Jesus returns, therefore it is a growing city, an enlarging family and a developing temple, which of course is a cause for optimism regarding the success of the gospel.

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