Posted by: Veroni Kruger | January 21, 2021

How Do You See Yourself?

As we proceed into the first few weeks of 2021, it is important for us to gain the correct perspective.  This as we see the values of the Christian faith increasingly being denied and even attacked.  We may be concerned about how we, the church, responds.  The following piece depicts the ambivalence of our lives as Christians.

David Bosch describes the ambivalence of the church in striking terms.  (“Witness to the World”, Atlanta, John Knox Press, 1980, p 93).     

“The church has, since her birth, been a peculiarly ambivalent body. She is in but not of the world. She always moves ‘between salvation history and history’. She is a sociological entity like any other human organisation and as such susceptible to all human frailties; at the same time she is an eschatological entity and as such the incorruptible Body of Christ. Seen through the eyes of the world she is usually under suspicion, disreputable and shabby; in the light of eternity she is a mystery. The resurrected Christ breathed his Spirit into a very earthy and common group of people. Thus the church became an inseparable union of the divine and the mundane. Sometimes one aspect is more in evidence, sometimes the other. We can be utterly disgusted at times with the earthiness of the church; at other times we are enraptured by the awareness of the divine dimension in the church. Usually, however, it is the ambivalence that strikes us: the church as a community of people – good people, weak people, hesitant people, courageous people – on their way through the world, dust-stained but somehow strangely illuminated by a radiancy from elsewhere”. 

The radiancy from elsewhere is the glory of God that shines on the church in spite of her weaknesses.            

God is preparing the church to be blameless and spotless before Him in glory! Even as we struggle to understand what is happening and how we should deal with it, He is relentlessly pursuing his goals as He described them in his Word, and He will achieve exactly what He aims to do.  

When Balaam was hired by the king of the Moabites who did not wish Israel any good, the prophet saw the people of Israel as God saw them, and it was all good! (Numbers 22-24). In the same manner, there is a church that is what God wants it to be, and it is good. Jesus said of the church that He would build it and that it would not be overcome, not even by the worst enemy (Matthew 16.18). Paul enjoins the elders at Ephesus to take care of the church because it was brought into existence by nothing less than the death of Jesus (Acts 20.28). John sees the church before the throne of God as a mighty multitude of people singing: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.  You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,and they will reign on the earth.”  (Revelation 5.9, 10)

As we look at ourselves (and at one another) now, we may not see that, but let us never forget that the church is beyond all of us. It is the work of God, planned by Him, begun by Him, and being built by Him for his glory. (This blog is largely a quote from my book “What Has Your Church Become”, 2014)

It is my sincere prayer that this blog may by the grace of God play some role in that work of building God’s church in you and me.


Responses

  1. Jou interpretasie dat God dit sal regkry om ‘n “spotless” and “blameless” kerk te bewerk, verstaan ek of verkeerd of dit moet weer besin word. Van die eerste kerk tot vandag se kerk is vrot van gebreke, ek weet nie eers van ‘n gemeente wat naby daaraan kom nie, ook nie eers ‘n enkele indiwidu nie.
    Die mens, die kerk het haar maagdelikheid verloor en nie sy of God kan dit herwin nie. Hy het ons as Sy vrou gevat, ons is getroud. Die vraag is: Leef ons vandag as Sy bruid?
    Dit wat ons doen moet meer in die visier wees as ons toestand.
    Miskien moet ek eers jou boek gelees het. Haha

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    • Daar is ‘n verskil tussen toegerekende geregtigheid en verdiende geregtigheid. Laasgenoemde is buite ons bereik, omdat ons is soos jy sê. Ons ontvang toegerekende geregtigheid by wedergeboorte net op grond van die verdienste van Jesus deur sy dood. Heiligmaking is die proses wat dan behoort te begin, waarin die Heilige Gees in ons werk om ons meer soos Jesus te maak. Dit sal voortduur totdat ons by die Here is, wanneer ons sal wees soos Hy is. Natuurlik moet ons met Hom saamwerk, maar ons kan dit nie uit eie krag regkry nie. Ek glo Kolossense 1.23 geld nou reeds, dat Hy ons “heilig, sonder smet en onberispelik voor Hom stel” suiwer omdat God deur Jesus Christus na ons kyk.

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Alexander F. Venter

Live a life of love just as Jesus loved us...

Attempting Authenticity

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Martha Elizabeth Kruger

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