After a weekend full of lessons which built our appreciation for Christ’s church, I have a renewed appreciation for the incredible institution God premeditated from eternity. The Ephesian epistle paints the picture of the church as Jesus’ bride, army, body, inheritance, and family. This exalted picture is at odds with many, from a surprising variety of sources, who have such a low view of the church and her members. Because the church belongs to and is so intimately associated with Christ, we should be most circumspect about the various criticisms we lob at her. When we evaluate specifics regarding the church, we must remember that the church is perfect. Yet, the church is also most imperfect. The “Divine Side” could not be improved. The “Human Side” always could be.
- The Church’s Organization Is Perfect, But Her Overseers Aren’t.
- The Work Of The Evangelist Is Perfect, But Those Who Do That Work Aren’t.
- The Purpose And Mission Of The Church Is Perfect, But The People Tasked With It Aren’t.
- The Plan To Reach The Lost Is Perfect, But Soul-Winners Aren’t.
- The Pattern Of Worship Is Perfect, But The Worshippers Aren’t.
- The Call To Love One Another Is Perfect, But We, The Called, Aren’t.
- The Commands For Christian Living Are Perfect, But We Are Imperfect.
It is easy to forget this as we set expectations for others. We may even set a higher standard for others than that by which we would wish ourselves judged. As we level our various criticisms at the church, we must evaluate our motives and intentions while being careful not assign to others’ motives and intentions what may simply be their inevitable if unpalatable imperfection. We should always strive for perfection—maturity and completeness—but keep in mind that only God’s design, desire, and direction for the church is perfect. We must put away sin, jealously guard our candlestick, and root out sin in the camp. Yet, we are also directed to bear with one another in love, being kind, not behaving rudely, being courteous, sympathetic, and gentle. These biblical mandates will temper our tantrums and cushion our criticisms. We will be able to look at the church not only as it is, but as something we, imperfect as we ourselves are, can encourage to be better. Since none of us are, thank God His Son is perfect.