“These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
Jesus Christ is the architect and builder of the church (Matthew 16:18); it is His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). The church consists of a New Covenant priesthood (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 1: 6; 5:9-10) in which God has chosen to dwell Spiritually (Romans 8:10-11; Ephesians 3:17; 1 John 4:4). We are, individually and collectively, the Temple of God, the center of His religious program (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16). We are furthermore called to be Christ’s ambassadors on the earth, representing Him and acting as the custodians of His word (2 Corinthians 5:20-21). How we regard and treat each other plays a vital role in how we discharge this important office. On the eve of His arrest, the Lord Jesus issued a command to His disciples, and by extension, to us also: “A new commandment I give unto you,” said the Lord, “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35). The church is more than a community of people with similar interests and a common object of worship. The church is an adopted family. We are a household of faith. No family is perfect, at least not on this side of heaven. The book of Genesis makes this very clear. The most godly family on earth in the days of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph) was fraught with problems. Even in the redeemed household of faith there may be misunderstandings, harsh words spoken carelessly, injured feelings, and sharp disagreements. Nevertheless, to the extent that we are truly born again believers in Jesus and fellow heirs of the Kingdom, there will remain an unbreakable bond of familial love. This ought to manifest itself in kindness (Romans 12:10), gentleness, and a heart ready to forgive (Ephesians 4:2, 32; Colossians 3:13). We should greet one another with sincere affection (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 12:12) and do what we can to comfort and edify one another (1 Thessalonians 4:19; 5:11; Hebrews 13:13). Despite recent protestations to the contrary, the Epistle to the Hebrews remains as clear and relevant as ever. “Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works,” wrote the author, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25). May our local assembly consistently exemplify these attitudes and actions, for Christ’s glory, for the furtherance of the Gospel, and for the good of others in the household of faith.