Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You are not the Bride of Christ...

There are times in your life when you figure out something that maybe you should have known for a long time. That recently happened to me (again!). In our individualistic society we live in today it is easy to see why I missed this, but as a pastor and seminary student I should not have. The point is that you (singular) are not the bride of Christ. You (plural) are the bride of Christ. There is no place of individualism in the Christian life. All those who believe are part of the bride of Christ. I bring that out because of a couple of reasons. One reason is for those who say you can be a believer in Christ and not be a part of the church. For one thing that's just disobedient to God's word. For another thing, however, you are part of the church if you are in Christ. So to hate the church is to hate the very bride that you help make. Another reason I've thought about this is because the church must recapture the understanding of community (not individualism) if she will actually be the church Christ has died for her to be. The bride of Christ is a corporate bride, not an individualistic person.

What are some other implications of this truth?

5 comments:

Pastor Dan Rolfe said...

Well said, Randy. Wise words to remember when people want to complain about "the church".

Pastor Randy said...

Thanks brother. I hope you are well.

Justin Nale said...

Your point is spot on.

I would only ask you to reconsider the statement that "there is no place of individualism in the Christian life." Being a Christian is both an individual and a corporate reality. Salvation, for example, is very much individualistic in the sense that I can be saved only by my own faith alone. No one else's faith will do - only mine. But it is corporate in the sense that my salvation is part of the New Covenant that Christ has made with His body, the Church.

We live in a culture that over-emphasizes the individual's relationship to Christ. There are kinds of theology (i.e., New Perspective of Paul) that over-emphasizes the corporate people of God's relationship to Christ. The Bible speaks of both, and we err if we over-emphasize either to the point of neglecting the other. In my opinion.

Pastor Randy said...

Justin,

I actually thought about that earlier today. Certainly there is something about the individual (especially in personal faith in Christ), but my point is that the Christian is not to live secluded by him/herself. I'm referring to once they are part of the bride of Christ. Still, I know that there is personal disciplines, one must personally seek the Lord, but even then it's in the context of living in the community of faith. Does that make sense?

Justin Nale said...

Absolutely.

Its kind of like a pinky toe. Its an individual part of the body with its own unique function and role, but it nevertheless is united to the rest of the body and has no life in and of itself apart from the rest of the body (and especially the head). As pastors, we want people to see both their connection to and need for the rest of the body while also understanding their own unique role.