Why God’s Church is Unlimited

Jan 17, 2015 1171

GalaxyToo many people see the church as restrictive and limited. After all, didn’t Jesus say,

small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (Matt 7:14)?

Of course he did. The gate to life is narrow because there is only one gate. Jesus also said,

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved (John 10:9).

There may be only one gate, but the church inside is huge! Here’s why:

1) Because God’s church extends throughout the universe

The New Testament teaches us that God’s church is not limited to this earth at all, and that the body of Christ is much larger than we often think. Paul is referring to the church when he writes of that Christ has “made peace” and “reconciled all things to Himself” “through the blood of His cross… whether things on earth or things in heaven” (Col 1:20). The picture that the New Testament gives us is of God’s church as being a community that extends throughout the universe. It is a church that stretches far beyond the boundaries of this planet, and whose extent in space, or even time, is beyond our comprehension.

God’s church is the community to which the faithful on earth and the faithful in heaven belong. Paul, for example, develops this idea in the book of Hebrews. In chapter 12, he compares the mountain of Sinai where God communed with His people with the reality of the church. He writes that we have not come to that earthly mountain, but, rather, “to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.” (Heb. 12:22–23.)

2) Because it cannot be limited by any denomination

God’s church existed before any denomination. This does not mean that God does not love and work through different Christian churches or denominations, but simply that these cannot claim to be God’s church to the exclusion of other Christians. Look at two statements from the New Testament about who is part of God’s universal church:

everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. – Acts 2:21 (CEB)

through Jesus everyone who believes is put in right relationship with God. – Acts 13:39 (CEB)

3) Because it receives sinners

In Luke 15:2 we have the record that Jesus was criticized for receiving sinners – This man receives sinners – and even worse, socializing with them!

God’s church is unlimited because, like Jesus, it receives everyone – even – no, especially – sinners! God’s church is for everyone who loves Jesus and loves his company.

A Final Thought…

You may be disappointed with church. You may sometimes feel very, very alone.

But you’re not. You are part of God’s universal community to whom he is very, very close – his church.

God paid an infinite sacrifice through his Son so that his church could be unlimited, so that “whoever believes in him” will have eternal life.

Don’t let anyone diminish that sacrifice in your mind by suggesting to you that God’s church is limited and small.

– Eliezer

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