God’s Church – The importance oft he church”– Part Two

In our last article, the first part of this series, we made the observation that we need to view the church through the eyes of Christ and see just what it was and is to Him as we define the importance of the church to mankind today.  For instance, to God and to Christ, the church is inseparably linked with God’s eternal purpose, and one cannot minimize her importance!  
Jesus Christ is the central fact of history, and it was God’s eternal purpose to sum up all things in Him.  The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:7-10 (NIV) ⁷ “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace ⁸ that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.  ⁹And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, ¹⁰ to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.”
Notice that this mystery of God was defined as “the uniting of Gentiles and Jews (all of mankind) in one body.”  Ephesians 3:6 (NIV) ⁶This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”  The whole of religious history centered around this act.  We are fellow heirs and of the same body.  
Not only do we learn from Ephesians 1:22-23 that the church is the body of Christ, but we also learn that it was purposed by God from eternity that the church was part of this plan.  The church, which is the body of Christ is the visible demonstration to all mankind the wisdom of God summed up in Jesus Christ:  Ephesians 3:10-11 (NIV) ¹⁰ “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, ¹¹ according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Gentiles, without God and Christ, were aliens, strangers, and without hope.  Along with the Jews they were reconciled in one body by the cross (Eph. 2:11-16).  Reconciliation back to God by Christ in One Body is especially meaningful when one realizes the sinful state man was in!  Man Is saved from His sin in the Body.  By the dying body of Jesus on the cross, the church, which is His spiritual body of the saved, stands before the world making known that sinful man can be reconciled back to God.
We noted in Eph. 1:22-23 that the church is the “body” and the “fulness” of Christ.  Yes, Christ is the head, and his church is the body, which works in keeping with His eternal purpose.  Thus, we arrive at where we began, Christ and His church are inseparable!  It is only as men are brought into the body of Christ–the church–that God’s purpose in him is accomplished.

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