Who Loves The Church?
" Just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless."(NASV) Eph 5: 25b-27
The question is often asked "who loves the Church?" The answer; ‘Christ loves His Church.' He is the head of the Church. He has bought her with His own precious blood. Christ has called His Church to be a radiant and perfected Bride fit for Himself.
As His chosen disciples we ought to love the Church. Yet, there are many people today who do not love the Church. Certainly, if we keep our eyes on the faults or upon the historical well documented abuses of the established church, then we understand how people may feel. How do we move past the negative feelings about the organized church and get back to the attitude of Christ who loved, chose, called and is perfecting His Bride the Church?
- Realize that the Church is both perfect and imperfect. Like all human organizations, the natural limitations of a fallen nature get evidenced in the Church here on earth. The church is made up of imperfect people, sanctified by grace, still struggling with the natural nature.
- Accept one another as people, created in the image of God who have been made new by grace. Grace has made us partakers of God's nature, full of love and truth. God loves us in spite of our sin. We therefore ought to do the same by loving others. We are to pray for our enemies. We are to offer cups of cold water to those who hate us. We are to see everyone no matter their race, religion or life situation as people needing the grace of God. Grace is greater than our imagination and limitations. Just think of the story of Paul on the road to Damascus. This is a story of amazing grace.
- Refuse to accept or excuse wrong behaviours in the church. The Church historically has tended to do internal damage control on issues such as child abuse or unethical practices. The past decade has exposed this wrong thinking. We must not allow public sin to be handled in private if we are to be real partners in the communities in which we live. If the church is to be pure, it must also be real and transparent. Fears keep us within the fortress, but Jesus has said that the truth will set us free. This has huge implications for a healthy church.
- Do not allow “grace killers” to rule the church. The church must not allow what Chuck Swindoll has referred to as "grace killers" (Grace Awakening) to go unchallenged. Grace killers are critical and judgemental in their attitude toward others. Their depth of spirituality is shallow and they are only comfortable if everyone conforms to their ridged understanding of spirituality. This attitude kills grace and creates tension in the church.
Who loves the church? Christ loves the church and so do I. I trust that is true for you as well.