The Goal of the Church Part 3
by Dr. Robert Thompson
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:21,22)
God is creating a house for Himself. The living stones of which it is composed will serve for eternity as kings and priests of the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (I Peter 2:5)
They are the Presence of God among mankind.
. . . all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. (Isaiah 61:9)
If the true Christian salvation is the extending of an amnesty to us so that our sins are overlooked, with the intent of bringing us to Paradise to live useless lives in an environment that presents no challenge to our characters, then the bringing forth of a new, godly creation in our personalities may be desirable but it is not essential.
However, if the true Christian salvation is the building of an eternal house for the God of Heaven, a tabernacle of glory that will serve for eternity as the light of the nations of saved peoples of the earth, then the bringing forth of a new, godly creation in our personalities is necessary for the gaining of our inheritance.
And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:24)
Transforming grace must be added to pardoning grace.
The new Jerusalem, which, in the future, will come down out of Heaven from God to rest on the new earth, is a real city. The things of it, such as the walls and the gates, are material. But they reveal in themselves the characteristics of the personalities of God's saints who are themselves the holy city. The pearls, the precious stones, the purified gold, are all formed in us by the heat and pressures of life as we interact with the Spirit of God.
In fact, the new Jerusalem is a picture of the Church, of the Kingdom of God, of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and of the individual saint.
Going to live forever in Heaven, and being changed into the image of Jesus, are two different goals. The first is not found in the Scriptures. The second is found in the Scriptures (Romans 8:29).
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:23)
(from The Goal of the Church; from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking) We extend permission to make as many copies of this essay as you need, in both paper and electronic formats. Please include the following statement of copyright:
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