Most people in our westernized world have a general understanding of what the word church means. It is customarily a building where there are religious activities and religion-focused people gathered together. And while that idea is, for the most part, true, it is soooo much better than that!
Ok. A little history first. Hear me out.
Throughout scripture, there is a collective entity known as “God’s people”. In the Old Testament, the times before Jesus came to earth, these people were the Israelites. They lived out thousands of years entrenched in religion and duties performed for the satisfaction of God. There were rare men and prophets who were close with God, like Moses, King David, Noah & Samuel. However, God was still a far away being that somehow interacted with “His people”.
Then Jesus showed up on the scene, appearing to many as a wrecking ball in the Jewish world. He was declaring that everyone on the earth was God’s child and was loved by Papa God, THE Creator of heaven and earth – not just the Israelites, the Jews, but everyone. This was a totally new idea and one that was foreign to religious leaders in the Israelite community.
We’re getting to The Church, don’t worry.
So, Jesus established something that was way better than religion. He introduced the God that people could be ONE with… not just a god to be worshiped in deed or service, but a God who desires complete and total union with “His people”.
I mean, that WAS the intent from the get go. Ever since Eden, history and man’s interactions with God have been leading up to this – total union with God. His plan is a love story with us, one that is reflected in detail through what we KNOW AS marriage.
So The Church. Who is she?
Well, The Church is the collective group of God’s people on the earth, much greater than just a material building. She is not a building, but rather a Bride. Jesus is returning for a Bride, The Church, that is beautiful and bright. His longing is for complete and total union with us, humankind (John 14, 15). Each individual within this collective has their own unique story with God and function within the group.
However, the greatest beauty we will experience is as the collective we are… as we are ONE, in total unity and love, His Bride – the Church – with each other and him by his Spirit.
“God’s people” are those He has chosen, those who have responded to him with a yes.
We, The Church, are this collective that spans across generations and cultures. We are a family that covers the earth. We are God’s glory covering the earth like the waters clothe the sea (Habakkuk 2).
So the buildings and homes we meet in to worship Jesus are simply that – buildings. They will one day be destroyed. But we will stand bold and beautiful - The Church, God’s Victorious Bride. While there is a clear picture in the New Testament of believers being a part of a body that is THEIR’s, that they can call there on (i.e., we should all find a body of believers to be a part of each Sunday, to serve in and to worship with), there’s no competition between one church or another. It’s not about denominations.
Our eyes are set on a much higher prize – Love (I John).
He is our joy, and we are his.
By Staci Jinkerson | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER | FACEBOOK