What is the Purpose of the Church?

Legacy Ladies Note: This blog series is inspired by For the Life of the World, a film series that explores the deeper meaning of salvation. It discusses how we can steward every economy in our lives (creative service, wonder, the church, etc.) to proclaim God’s glory, so that the world might come to know Him. This is the fourth article in this series.

 

By Rachel Gardner

Here are some exciting $10 words to get us started today that will (hopefully) introduce a new perspective into our discussion of the Church:

  1. Anamnesis: a lived memory
  2. Prolepsis: the state of becoming something in the future that has not happened yet, in our case, the “not yet now of the coming kingdom of God”

Now let’s make more sense of what this means for us. When we talk about the Church, we are talking about the body of Christ, the group of believers that collectively identifies as Christian. Christians may gather in different places, worship in different ways, but the fundamental Truth that Jesus was the Son of God who came into this world, died, and was resurrected as the salvation of the world, binds us. 

The Church brings such vastly different groups of people together, and according to 1 Peter 2:9, all believers are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy (set apart) nation, God’s special possession.” Why are we chosen? So “that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (v. 10). We are not just rescued to be rescued, but to proclaim the excellencies of Him who rescued us, and this proclamation is for the life of the world.

The Church began after the resurrection, so we, the Church, became the anamnesis, the lived memory of God in the world. We carry on the Truth of the Gospel now until Christ’s return and share it in every corner of the globe. Simultaneously, we are the prolepsis because we are the constant state of becoming; we are the “not yet now” because God’s Kingdom has not yet been restored. We are continually sharing the Gospel and growing as a family of like-minded individuals until the reunion of the rescued (Revelation 19:7-8).

How are we, the Church, living or not living this out? Think of the number of nominal Christians versus those who have truly given their lives to Christ. Think about how we serve the least of these in our community. By asking how the Church is doing we can in turn ask how we, individually, are doing.

The literal body of Christ was beaten, broken, tested, sacrificed, and, ultimately, restored. We, as the Church, should reflect this because we are all those things too: imperfect people, beaten down at times, broken in sin, tested by the world, and are thankfully restored to the Father.  

Galatians 2:20 says we “have been crucified with Christ.” To find our own life, we must die to our selfish desires and controlling nature in favor of a humbled, obedient, God-glorifying life. This goes back to contributing to the good of the city we are part of while we are here on earth. The Church is the body of Christ given as a gift for the life of the world.

Also Read:

How to Live in Exile

Why Does Work Matter?

How our Ability to Wonder is a Gift from God

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