What do we make of the church?
A building? A social mishap? An institution that has damaged the lives of many people? A place for religious things? A location for people who cannot cope with the realities of life? This may well sum up a lot of what we feel and think of the church. Moreover, what about the people within it? They have been termed backward, regressive, bigoted, hypocritical, liars, cheats. An endless list of negative terminology.
However, that is not the true church: "you are the body of Christ and individually members of it" (1 Corinthians 12:27). The image of the church has been distorted, misconceived and misinterpreted both by the people within it and the people on the outside. The church at its core is not what you think. Only the Bible provides a true and holistic explanation of the beauty of the church body. The real church is unified, set apart, sanctified and graciously and mercifully adored by God. Who, in reality, we are not worthy to seek counsel with. Yet, he seeks us. Grants us faith to believe and trust in his Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. This was not something we deserved but an unforgettable and breathtaking gift of grace.
You are the body of the living Christ. We wrestle individually with our own sins and struggles, yet together we confess to each other our sins and pray for one another that we might find healing (James 5:16) and bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2). There is no other place on earth that displays the type of dynamic found within the embrace of God's people. If you have not discovered that church environment then I plea that you would investigate the claims of Jesus. Not the scandals, the scars or the bruises. Rather, the one who through "all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible... all things were created through him and for him." (1 Colossians 1:16). Due to the grace we have received from God, the church should seek to honour and glorify God in service. Loving obedience to the body of Christ. We keep his commands, not out of duty, but as a demonstration of the love of God. His commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:3). No matter what the world claims us to be - economically, socially, politically - at the end of the day, the body of Christ will transcend all of these temporary things. Keep on serving and embracing the unity that only exists in the church body. May we work and serve one another until the day of Christ. Church you are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:9). Chosen, redeemed, justified, sanctified and soon to be glorified. The church is something unique.