By Ron Thomas
When you think of the church of Christ, what comes to mind? A building? Perhaps the people, maybe some bad experiences that you would like to forget. Maybe all of these. What does the Lord think when He thinks of the church of Christ?
You may know the various passages within the New Testament to give a quick answer, and I suspect your use of those passages would be handled plenty fine. Yet, there might be more to say on the matter than you might realize. The Lord’s apostle wrote, ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5).
Notice three terms. Since the church of our Lord consists of people, the first term to notice is living stones. Do stones live? No, they don’t. What does the Lord mean then? It’s a figurative term at two levels. First, stones are not living, so it’s figurative.
Second, people are not rocks, so that, too, is figurative. Stones and rocks convey something solid, and even though there is no life in them, with the Lord, those that are part of His household have life and they have it more abundantly. In a community where people are dead in sin, the head of the corner (Cornerstone) will have those who are part of the church of Christ on solid ground very much alive.
A second term we want to consider is spiritual house offering up spiritual sacrifices. How can this be? Are we not physical people walking into a material building, singing with the heart the Lord gave at creation? We are but we are more than that which is called material, we have been created in such a way that there are three parts to us. Paul said we are body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23). Note that only one of the three is physical, material, the other two non-material, non-physical.
Some find it hard to distinguish between soul and spirit, but I suggest the separation fits well along this line: soul would be the life given to us from God; spirit would be the same, but it will go back to the Lord to be judged; the material is that which decays.
While we may have difficulty making a distinction between soul and spirit, we have no difficulty in understanding the nature of worship between the material and spiritual.
The third term we will think on is a holy priesthood. The priest in the Old Testament was a go-between, a mediator between the one who worships and the Almighty. That go-between is eliminated; you now have direct access to the Lord. Don’t fail to notice the word holy. This word means you have separated yourself from the ways of the world and choose to serve Him who called you. Because of your decision, the Lord set you apart for His service.
What does the Lord think when He thinks of the church of Christ? It’s the church that belongs to Christ, made up of those saved from their sins, called to be living stones, built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5).
The life you live, is that a life acceptable to God?