14938201_1319831601369155_4389769514306460607_n

We often sing, “I Love Thy Kingdom Lord” and other songs about our devotion for the church of our Lord. As much as we love the church, we can never love the church with the infinite love with which the Father, Son, and Spirit eternally love the church.

THE BOND BETWEEN CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH

Christ is the “head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18). The church is “the body of Christ” (Eph. 1:23) and “the bride of Christ” (Ephesians 5:22-27; Revelation 19:7; 21:2). The church, Turretin wrote, “cannot be torn away from him and will last as long as even the head itself, which cannot exist without the body.”[1] The relationship between Christ and his church is demonstrated by how he “intimately identifies himself with it (Acts 9:4).”[2]

Since the church is rooted in the eternal person of Christ, the existence of the church is guaranteed by the existence of Christ himself. The church has an eternal covenant with the eternal God (Is. 59:21; 61:8; Jer. 31:31). The church enjoys promise that the gates of Hades will not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18) and that Christ will be present with the church to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20). The church will continue as long as death continues (1 Cor. 15:25-26). The church is the kingdom without end (Dan. 2:44; Lk. 1:33).

 

THE LOVE OF GOD FOR HIS CHURCH

This union between Christ and the church was described by Jonathan Edwards as a gift from the Father to the Son. Edwards wrote, “God hath an infinite love to his [Son and] delights to put honor upon him…. And the principal means by which God glorifies his Son in the world that is created is by providing him a spouse, to be presented [to] him in perfect union, in perfect purity, beauty, and glory.” The church is guaranteed by the eternal plan of God through the work of Christ and the union of the church with the eternal person of Christ. In his work Christ would “bring her to come to him, present her to himself and make her perfectly beautiful, perfectly and unspeakably happy.” We love the church. God loves the church. Praise God.

Jonathan Edwards said, “God’s love to his saints has had being from all eternity. God often in his Word is setting [forth] how great his love is to his saints, how dear they are to him. But this love of his to them, he had before ever they had any being.”[1]

This work of God made “in eternity past” will be enjoyed by the church “in eternity future.” “Christ at the end of the world will invite his saints to come and possess the kingdom prepared for them from the beginning of the world. Matt. 25:34, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Thus God has exercised love to his saints in the things that he has done from the beginning of the world.”[2] The Didache records the following prayer:

Thou, Almighty Master, didst create all things for Thy name’s sake, and didst give food and drink unto men for enjoyment, that they might render thanks to Thee; but didst bestow upon us spiritual food and drink and eternal life through Thy Son. 4Before all things we give Thee thanks that Thou art powerful; Thine is the glory for ever and ever. Remember, Lord, Thy Church to deliver it from all evil and to perfect it in Thy love; and gather it together from the four winds—even the Church which has been sanctified—into Thy kingdom which Thou hast prepared for it; for Thine is the power and the glory for ever and ever. May grace come and may this world pass away. Hosanna to the God of David.[3]

The origin and perpetuity of the church yet rests upon the eternal purpose of God and the eternal person of Christ.

 

              [1] Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, ed. James T. Dennison Jr., trans. George Musgrave Giger, vol. 3 (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1992–1997), 42.

            [2] “The church is the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12–27; Eph 1:23; 4:12; 5:23–32; Col 1:18, 24; 3:15), the dwelling place of his Spirit (Rom 8:9, 11, 16; 1 Cor 3:16–17; 6:11, 15–17; Eph 2:18, 22; 4:4), and the chief instrument for glorifying God in the world.” Mark Dever “The Church” in A Theology for the Church. (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2014), 603.

              [1] Jonathan Edwards, Sermons and Discourses, 1734–1738, 477.

            [2] Jonathan Edwards, Sermons and Discourses, 1734–1738, 480.

[3] Joseph Barber Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers (London: Macmillan and Co., 1891), 233.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.