The church has taken a lot of heat lately. In our world of deconstructive tendencies we have learned it is far easier to pick people and things apart than it is to build people and things up. Certainly some things need to be critiqued and improved. There is no doubt about that. But often we don’t take the time to look at things from a positive perspective. It is time that we remind ourselves of the positive attributes of Christ’s church.

When we view the church solely with a critical eye, I am afraid that we don’t see God’s people and God sees His own people. We view things with a much more criticism and far less grace than God does. Even those of us who are strong proponents of grace seem to see this more on an individual level rather than on a corporate level. We expect God to be graceful to us as individuals but don’t always appreciate the church with the kind of grace God gives us as a body. I believe when God sees his bride, the church, he sees something beautiful. I believe when Christ, the head of the church, sees His body, He sees something beautiful and worthwhile.

We can create posts that list the 10 things wrong with the church today but let’s look at it from the other direction. What is going well? What beautiful things are happening? How are Christians actively embodying and imitating our Savior? Tell us some good news for a change. Do some edifying, some up building. So here is our chance…let’s build up the bride!

It is important for Christ’s church to have a positive self image. That doesn’t mean there is never a time or place to critique but that we always need to keep things in perspective of the bigger picture of how God sees his bride being fully aware of her flaws.

3 Responses

  1. What amazes me is the contradiction, seemingly, between the opening of 1 Corinthians 1 and 3.
    Look at all the wonderful terms he uses:
    “1 Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ [a]by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

    2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, [b]saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

    3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    4 I thank [c]my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed [d]in you, 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

    And then in 3: “3 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking [a]like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men?”

    And yet, I keep coming back to the first chapter. In spite of the shortcomings, they still are “church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, [b]saints by calling…”

    Maybe we have lost sight of that amazing dichotomy. Maybe because we have lost sight of looking at God’s people God’s way…

    1. When it comes to ourselves and our spouses we all know there are things we could improve upon but we see them as beloved first and foremost. Areas for improvement do not detract from their beauty. So Paul lives in the tension of the church that needs to work on some things, even serious things, and yet their special status as God’s beloved bride. Great thoughts Rudy!

  2. See, I am not always again’ something… 🙂

    Another interesting perspective, from Paul’s writing (AND John 17), is his concept of what unity is about. In John 17, it’s obvious – the expected unity for the disciples is the model the master has shown: It’s not MY thing, it’s what the Father says and expects – without questioning (Not my will, but Yours…).
    When Paul writes about unity, he expects unity of thought and purpose. He expects staying with what he taught (and the apostles). Our modern approach is a far cry from that intense idea of unity – My idea of being a church is as good as your idea of doing a church – rather than asking the question what God’s idea of BEING a church is.
    A Organism rather than an Organisation. An “all member” involvement rather than the professionals taking over.
    As long as we focus too much on organisational professionalism, we will not be that Bride…

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