The Glorious Church

January 18, 2007

Ephesians 5:27, “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Amen.

The true church is the body of Christ. The church that is not the body of Christ is vanity. The Truth calls the process of becoming the body of Christ ‘the message of the cross’.

The message of the cross means not only the way of suffering, but also the way of putting off the body of the sins of the flesh through death. Without putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, there is no the body of Christ, the church.

The Truth also calls the message of the cross ‘the circumcision made without hands’. It is written in Colossians 2:11, “In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ.” The church is a new creature that was circumcised without hands of men, put off the body of the sins of the flesh, and became one body with Christ, the head of the body.

The brothers and sisters who put off the body of the sins of the flesh with the circumcision done by Christ are now all one without male or female. All of them are the brothers of Christ and the body of Christ. It is written in Galatians 3:27, “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” And also Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Christ became the firstborn among many brothers who have clothed themselves with Christ, as the Truth says, Hebrews 2:12, “He says, ‘I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.'” Romans 8:29 says, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

Galatians 3:27 says, “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Those who are Christ’s and have clothed themselves with Christ are the body–the church–that belongs to Christ, the head of it. The Bible calls it ‘those who belong to him’ (1 Corinthians 15:23) or ‘the bride of the Lamb’.

It is written in Ephesians 5:31-32, “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery–but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Truly blessed are those who hold this mystery of the faith. 1 Timothy 3:9 says, “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.”

The Bible encourages the true church, Romans 13:14, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” The church is the body of Christ, and each one of the church is a part of it, as 1 Corinthians 12:27 says. The Bible also says in Romans 12:5, “so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

It is the mystery of the faith that the afflictions of the head now continue in his body. It is written, Colossians 1:24, “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.” To be one body, there are now the afflictions of the body which are behind of those of the head. Nothing without these afflictions is of his body.

Anything that does not participate in the sufferings for him is not of his body, as it is written in Philippians 1:29, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.”

The head and body are one life. A life will be born when both the head and body are united in suffering. It is written in 2 Corinthians 1:5, “For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” And also in 1 Peter 4:13, “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

The Bible says about ‘a new and living way opened for us through the curtain’. But also it says that ‘the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed’. In the Bible, there are writings about those who entered God’s rest, and also about those who have not entered God’s rest.

It is written in Hebrews 9:8-10, “The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings–external regulations applying until the time of the new order.” So God is always at his work to this very day in Christ.

The passages above testifies that the way into the Most Holy Place have not yet been disclosed because his body–the curtain of the temple–have not been torn completely. It is like the pains of childbirth stop only after the toes of the body come out. Although Christ–the head of the body–entered the true tabernacle, his body is not yet made complete, and the afflictions which are behind of the afflictions of Christ remain in his body, which is the church. This is the process through which the body enters the Most Holy Place.

However, the Bible already prophesied, Mark 15:38, “The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” If God permits …

“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.” Hebrews 6:1-3. Amen. May God permit. Thank you, Lord.

“He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.” Isaiah 33:6. Amen, Amen.

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