|Graphic from Literature and Liturgy|
God's building something.
It started with the prophets who were the foundation. Jesus is the chief cornerstone. God is joining His followers, the Church, together with Jesus to build a temple to His glory.
The church is comprised of all who believe in Christ; it is a visible entity that symbolizes the invisible grace that makes it possible. I believe that the church has a special place in God's work on this earth.
God has always planned to reconcile men to Himself; this can be seen throughout the Scriptures:
Genesis 3:15 - Genesis 3:1-20 recounts the fall of man and the fact that God provided a way back to Himself.
There are pictures of God's redemption throughout the Old Testament; here's just a few of them:
Genesis 22 - God required Abraham to sacrifice his son Issac and at the last minute provided a substitute for that sacrifice.
Exodus 2-14 - Moses leads Israel out of captivity in Egypt. Psalm 106:6-12 summarizes how God redeemed Israel through Moses leading their exit from Egypt.
Ruth 1-4 - Boaz is the kinsman redeemer who purchased the ability to care for Ruth and her mother in law and bring Ruth into the family of Israel who were God's chosen people.
Isaiah 49:8-10 & Isaiah 61:1-3-the promise of restoration and deliverance
John 12:20-35 - Jesus died for everyone and if he is lifted up He will draw all to Himself
Romans 5:12-19 - Death came through Adam and salvation for all came through Christ
Philippians 2:5-11 - Eventually all will come to God through the Lordship of Jesus
2 Peter 3:8-9-God waits for all to come to Himself.
1 Timothy 4:6-10 - God is the savior of all people
So everyone will eventually come to God through Jesus, but the church are those who form the mystical body of Christ who have come to Him while on this earth. It would seem that God has a special place, a special work for those of His Church. The Church is supposed to bring glory to God on this earth, preach His kingdom and make disciples, and help one another grow in relationship with God through Christ. Scriptures such as Romans 15:1-6 & 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 show me that the Church exists to bring glory to God. In Matthew 28:18-20 & Acts 1:8 we're shown that the Church is to bring preach the Jesus story and make disciples. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11, Ephesians 4:11-16, and Ephesians 3:10-25 show the Church is to help Believers in Christ to encourage one another and grow in their relationship with Him.
I believe that if I don't accept God's gift of salvation now, at the end of this life I'll be separated from Him in hell. That Hell is still redemptive in nature; a time of refining fire that I might repent and come to Him. Choosing Him now not only saves me from hell later, it allows me to experience relationship with the Creator of my soul. As part of His Church I am called to bring Him glory, help bring His kingdom to others, and help build up others of faith.
So what does this mean to me now? What are the questions that come to my mind?
- Does the way I live bring glory to God?
- What am I doing to help others come into His kingdom?
- Am I encouraging and helping others in the faith grow in Him?