The picture of the church has inspired love and hatred. It has been a symbol of hope, but has also been marred by war and ambition. What is the true identity of the church? Who is her true ruler? How should we, as followers of Jesus, see His church, and how should we treat her?
Jesus calls the church His beloved bride. He sees her as radiant, and covers her with His righteousness. Yet, even in the Bible, the picture of “the church” was distorted by men. The Sadducees and Pharisees, supposed to be “teachers of the law” promoted their own ideals of the church, and were rebuked by Jesus. Wars have been fought, and people killed, in the name of the church. Is this really how Christ’s bride looks like?
[Revelation 19:7-8] says,
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
The church is imperfect, but it remains the beloved of Christ. It is not a building, not an authority, and not a religion. The church of Christ is His bride and His body – those who love Him, who abide in Him and who carry His spirit of truth and righteousness. The authority of Christ himself rests upon His church, and it is His Spirit at work within her. We are the church of Christ and we are to make ourselves ready for the day that Jesus, our Bridegroom, returns.
[Ephesians 5:15-17] says,
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
What is the will of God for His church? How do we redeem this time, and how do we redeem the church?
Here are just a few things to think about. We can:
- Conquer conflict with forgiveness
- Conquer envy with identity
- Conquer offence with thanksgiving
- Conquer hatred with love
In the next few weeks, we are going to look at some of the ways we can clothe the church of Christ. Ultimately, it is God who clothes her with His righteousness. However, as members of the church, we also have a mandate to “make ourselves ready”, and to “make the Bride ready”. Let’s redeem the church – the Bride of Christ, beloved by Him, and made to love Him.