Q: What is the church?
A: “God chooses and preserves for Himself a community elected for eternal life and united by faith, who love, follow, learn from, and worship God together. God sends out this community to proclaim the Gospel and prefigure Christ’s kingdom by the quality of their life together and their love for one another” (Crossway 2017).
II Thessalonians 2:13
“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (ESV).
The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?
As we are a part of the community united by faith, the faith we all share should be evident in our individual lives. The qualities which characterize the church as a whole should be indicative of our lives. In Galatians, Paul expresses that we as Christians have been crucified with Christ and it is not our lives, rather our life belongs to Christ and therefore should be lived by faith in Jesus.
Peter writes that we are a royal priesthood who should “claim the excellencies of Him who called us…” In fact, our lives should be set apart from the world and moreover reflect the life of Christ: abiding with the father, exercising faith, speaking and living in truth, caring for one another, and glorifying God. In order to do this, we must die to our own desires each day and live for Jesus.
- Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (ESV).
- I Peter 2:9 “But 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 marvelous light” (ESV).
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?
Being a member of the church, or the community following God, has several implications. First, we should be imitators of Christ, which should impact our relationship with humanity in a significant way. This means we should live our lives as beloved children: secure, hopeful, and full of love. This love should be carried out in our daily walk when we encounter others.
Furthermore, not only are we to carry out our walk in love, but we should be intentional about community with humanity and other believers. Community with other believers ensures we worship together glorifying God and encourage one another. It also means that we will look at humanity with the hope in mind of spreading the Gospel of Christ.
- Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.“ (ESV).
- Hebrews 10:25 “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near“ (ESV).
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?
Confessing Christ as Savior means living for Him and living with and loving others. Our relationship with both our heavenly Father and people should continue to grow. It is important to remember that we should be in pursuit of all three facets of this relational status: pursue God, grow with other believers, seek the lost. As the church functions, we should all be one working body bringing glory to our Lord and spreading the love of the Gospel of Christ.
- Ephesians 4:15-16 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love (ESV).”