SUNDAY STUDY: “A Glorious Church”

From Oswald Chambers’ Devotions for a Deeper Life

“That He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish”, Ephesians 5:27.

Our Lord is God’s truth incarnate, God’s ideal in the flesh. God gave His final revelation in Christ and then set processes at work to make His ideal a reality in the lives of many more people – in the character of Christians, who are His truth incorporated in flesh and blood.

You see, in pursuits such as art, music, and literature, the ideal is a great vague end toward which all the artisans evolve their work more or less blindly. But in spiritual pursuits, we have the ideal manifested in flesh and blood; and we can measure certainly our growing up into Him in all things (Eph. 4:12-13).

Being “in Christ”  does not mean that somehow God pretends we are all right. It means that we are recreated by the spirit of God, in regeneration and the mighty baptism with the Holy Spirit. In this way that glorious Spirit-baptized community is created, which is often called “the church.”

I believe, however, that such a usage of the term church is a misleading limitation of our Lord’s meaning. When He refers to the church in Matthew 16:18, for instance, we would be much nearer His meaning if we translated ekklesia as “my new humanity,” against which death and time have no power.

Being “in Christ” means proclaiming, by my bodily life, what is easily discerned to be the life of Jesus. It means that I am undeserving of censure before God. It means that I am part of an innumerable host of the ekklesia, the new people in Christ (Eph. 5:25-27).