God's Purposes in Christ, #2
Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? (Acts 7:48-50)
If we would have a true understanding of the redemption that is in Christ we must realize that all that is taking place is, first of all, for God's benefit—to accomplish His purposes. It is when we view the workings of the Spirit of God as primarily for our benefit that our interpretation of the Scriptures becomes distorted.
The plan and purpose of God includes the creation of the eternal Temple of God, the Wife of the Lamb, the sons of God and brothers of Christ, and the judges who will crush Satan, release the inhabitants of the earth, and govern the creation in righteousness. God's will and delight are fulfilled in these and other accomplishments. When we view the work as being of God, in God, for God, we have no trouble believing that each objective will be achieved perfectly.
Each of the Divine objectives can be achieved only by bringing into being the Christian Church, the unified and mature Body of Christ. All that God desires will be realized in the glorified Body of Christ.
The perennial error of Israel and the Christian churches is to attempt to use the gifts and graces of God to benefit the world, and to seek to force the unregenerate to behave righteously. We read in current Christian journals that the Lord wants to raise up powerful ministries to meet the needs of a dying world.
While meeting the needs of a dying world may appear to be a godly ambition, it is not the purpose of the giving of the gifts and ministries of the Body of Christ. The purpose of the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit is the perfecting of the Body of Christ. As soon as the Body of Christ has been perfected, the entire Christ—Head and Body—will return to the earth.
When the Lord and His holy ones appear to the earth, sin will be judged and removed from the presence of mankind. God will meet the needs of a dying world by the appearing of the perfected Christ, not by the ministries or efforts of the churches of our day.
This is not to say that Christians should not improve the condition of people whenever possible. But it must be kept firmly in mind that the Lord's Kingdom is not of this present world. His attention is directed toward the perfecting of His Bride. As soon as this has been accomplished, the world will be ministered to successfully.
The Christians churches throughout their history have been drawn into social issues, attempting to force their will and ideals on a disobedient, reluctant mankind. It is so today. Believers turn their eyes away from the Lord toward the needs of mankind, stating that the practical Christian will get out and do something to help people and not just warm a seat in the church building.
To be continued.