Bible Society of South Africa

The Christian church - 25 July 2023

By Mims Turley

Bible text(s)

20You, too, are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone being Christ Jesus himself.

Ephesians 2:20GNBOpen in Bible reader

Over the centuries, billions of words have been, and still are, written about the church. Who and what is this church that we believe in? It is definitely not a physical building with walls, a roof and windows. The Bible clearly states that the church is “the Bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:9), the body of Christ (Romans 12:5) and according to our verse of the day, a “building” of which Jesus himself is the cornerstone. Everyone who believes in Jesus, the Saviour, is part of the church.

The church in which we believe is one. Read Ephesians 4-6. How can we say this when, even in the smallest town, there are different denominations? The answer is that as long as we sincerely confess that we believe in God Father Almighty and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, we are one. It is when the building, the minister, the thank offerings or whatever else becomes the focal point, that Satan laughs, because then unity is broken.

The church is holy. In Ephesians 1:4, we read: “Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him.” In this context, the word holy means to be dedicated to God and according to our verse for today, we are the church. When we say we believe in a holy church, it means that we are a group that is set apart for him; a group that he has chosen to live for his glory.

The church is universal. What does it mean? The church responds to universal needs – everyone has sinned (Romans 6:22); it proclaims the answer for all: Christ died for everyone (1 Peter 3:18); it has a universal mandate – “Go throughout the whole world …” (Mark 16:15); it has universal membership – anyone who has heard Jesus’ voice (regardless of race, culture, language) and accepted him is a member of this church (Revelation 3:20); the church is looking forward to a universal consummation – the time will come when all the members of the church will praise and worship God together in the same place (Revelation 20).

It is important to remember that your specific denomination, minister and the beautiful building do not make you part of the real church. This membership comes only by accepting Jesus as your Saviour. The choice is yours.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing us to be part of your holy, universal Christian church. Help us to see people who are lost, and tell them of your love and grace. Amen

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