May 13 I Saturday
2 Kings 17-18
“This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” —Ephesians 5:32
When we come to understand the Trinity, we realize that it demands a doctrine of the church. Two great doctrinal books of the New Testament are from Paul’s letters to the Romans and the Ephesians. Romans, on the one hand, teaches us what it means individually to be justified by faith, to be crucified with Christ, to be raised with Him, to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit and to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Ephesians, on the other hand, tells us that once we have a relationship with God, we are brought into a relationship with others.
Just as the Trinity does not exist in isolation but in unity together, so too must the Christian life be lived not in isolation but in unity. The image of God is plural, not singular; therefore, if we are going to be restored into the image in which we were created, it does not mean just God and ourselves growing in relationship but God and ourselves as well as other fellow believers growing together in relationship. As Christians, we need to repent of our individualism and recognize we were created to function in community. The church is designed to reflect the plurality of God.
A man once told me, “I’m a Christian but I know there is something wrong with my Christian living.” This man was not in active fellowship with other Christians; he was a lone ranger. He was like a coal removed from a fireplace, unable to sustain its heat without other hot coals around it. It is no wonder he felt something was wrong! The Christian life was never designed to function independently. Rather, our horizontal relationships with one another enrich the vertical relationship we enjoy with God.
Although plural, the church is one. It takes until the last four chapters of the Bible, the very end of the book of Revelation, for us to discover what the church is all about becoming: a bride—singular—for Christ. The whole great story of the Gospel is a romance, where the point is bringing people into a relationship with Christ as His beloved. The church itself is made up of men and women, boys and girls, every tribe and tongue from every part of the world, but when we are born again of the Spirit, we are brought into one body—one Church—under one Lord. In this, we experience something of the wonderful, incomprehensible Trinity of God, being brought together in unity in relationship with the Lord and one another.
Prayer: Lord God, thank You for setting the example of what it means to be in relationship with others and You. Increase my love for others and for You. Praise You!