Friday, August 12, 2011

Salvation and Christ's Body, the Church

[Jesus said]"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you..."

Matt. 28: 18- 20


When Christ's final atonement for our sins was completed. After having risen from the dead and ascended to His Father; the first thing He did back on earth was commission His disciples.

“Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He has said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” John 20: 21

His Kingdom of Heaven was brought to earth and now His disciples were to begin the great commission:

Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. Matt. 22:9

When Christ left us to return to the right hand of the Father. He placed Christians in charge of His work on earth to begin gathering souls into His Kingdom. At that moment we, His followers became His Body on earth as St. Paul tells the Colossians 1: 24 “... and in my flesh I do share on behalf of His body, which is the church....”

We, His Holy Church, have an authentic calling to be Christ’s witnesses to the world. We bring Christ’s salvation.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed ? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ? and how shall they hear without a preacher ? And how shall they preach , except they be sent? as it is written , How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! Romans 10:14-15

The saving gospel isn’t independent of the believers! Of course, God occasionally has a miraculous conversion of a person without the help of another Christian, as in the case of Saul/Paul. But that is not His regular method of giving the gospel. We have that responsibility of the great commission.

Christ uses the flesh and blood of His creation as His Divine agency to save the world. We share in the responsibility and the awesome glory of salvation. Often we do not acknowledge our part in this work. We only speak about the unseen and spiritual aspects of a born-again experience.

Every conversion experience is of course spiritual and miraculous, but it is usually through the physical and material world that someone receives the spiritual. It is through preaching and teaching and personal testimony and works of charity and mercy!

Christ could have saved us through invisible means. He could have saved us through spiritual and unseen methods that were direct from heaven and straight into our hearts without anything intervening or interceding.

And yet, He didn’t. He chose to come into the material world that He created, become us, man, and through this physical, organic substance redeem all of creation. Christ actually died in the flesh, it was not symbolic. Salvation of man joined both the physical and spiritual world together.

He continues to use the physical to do His bidding. We become part of the physical salvation process.

As it is through us, in sexual union with our spouse, we bring temporal, physical life into this world--a child in our own image. In the same way we are called to join God in bearing souls into the church, the Kingdom, for eternal, spiritual life.

Notice the words of Paul:

Of this church I was made a minister ... for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages... which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. Col. 1:. 25-28

We, as ministers of the gospel will present to God our work of saving souls. It is in union with Him, as His Body, distributing His powerful grace in both word and deed through out the world that we a part of the miracle of salvation.

So, when someone insists that it is Christ who saves, we can concur-- as we are His earthly Body, His beloved Bride and His church. It is we who are called to be Christ to the world. That is what the word Christian means, “little Christs.”

No comments: