Gravity, and its many mysterious characteristics, has helped us during this series to grab hold of divine truths about God’s church. When considering the bigger picture of our universe, we can easily be awestruck with the wonders of God’s creativity and ingenuity. We can see His handiwork all over the universe, from the stars to the planets to the vastness of empty space.
God has so intricately designed the cosmos for His glory. Its complexities will never be exhausted by our technology or science. It is beyond our reach. And yet, it is right outside our window. We can see it from our home and study it with our telescopes. It is a gift from God that points us toward Him.
There is another gift of God that points us toward Him. It is the body of Christ. The church was designed to be a wondrous picture of Christ so that the world may look upon us and be drawn to the gospel that we proclaim. We are a living system of members, uniquely and skillfully made to work the ministry, as the Lord “joins and holds us together” to build us up into Christ.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.Ephesians 4:15-16
Love and Purity for the Sake of the Body
Our study will now come full circle. We began looking at the instrument of God’s gravitational power—the word of truth spoken in love. Truth has been with us the entire way. It was the truth that brought us into the body (Eph. 1:13). Speaking the truth to each other is part of dwelling in the body because it infuses life into it (Eph. 4:15; 4:25). It also cleanses the body from sin (Eph. 5:26). Truth is the life-power flowing through the body like blood, fueling its growth and pumping its heart.
When truth is spoken in love, God’s power permeates and accomplishes His will in the church, rooting and grounding it in love (Eph. 3:17). It matures the church, transforming its members into a fully furnished, functioning community. It is, from beginning to end, a work of love. For it was “in love” that God predestined us to be adopted as sons (Eph. 1:4). It was by His love that we received faith and were saved (Eph. 2:4). It is “in love” that we experience true unity (Eph. 4:2). It is “in love” that the church builds itself up (Eph. 4:16).
This is why we are told to be imitators of God as His “beloved children” and to “walk in love as Christ loved us” (Eph. 5:1-2). It is “in love” that we are to relate to our spouses, family, and community (Eph. 5:22-33). God’s incorruptible love is to flow through the life of the church, inside and out, beginning and end.
Love and Unity for the Sake of the World
Since creation, God has desired to communicate His truth to humanity. After the fall in Eden, He used Israel as His primary vehicle. They were set apart to live in such a way that showed the world the perfect qualities of God. In the fullness of time, God sent His Son into the world to be His primary vehicle of truth to the world. Jesus was “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3). This was the crowning mark of God’s communication of truth. Jesus represented and proclaimed God’s truth with complete accuracy. He was the perfect Word of God.
When Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised to send His Holy Spirit as a “Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth” (John 14:15-17). In Acts 2, we see this promise fulfilled. The Spirit of Christ came down to the earth to indwell the hearts of believers and has been indwelling our hearts ever since. Now, the church is God’s primary vehicle by which the Lord communicates His truth to the world. This is what it means to be the body of Christ. For in His absence, we are carrying on His mission of proclaiming and exemplifying the Word of truth. This is why our Lord commands us to “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). Jesus was perfect while He was here. Now, we are to be perfect as we are here.
When describing perfection, we have put emphasis on only one side of the definition—to be holy and whole, lacking in nothing. But Paul used the word in Ephesians to also refer to the bringing together of dislocated ligaments. When used in reference to a body, it refers to a kind of surgery by which the body parts are grafted and knitted in as they should be. Of course, this is the idea of unity, being made whole as a body. It is the concept behind gravity and the focus of our series.
When the body of Christ is perfect, unified and whole, the perfect qualities of God are communicated to the world. Jesus was God’s exact imprint. He manifested God’s love, holiness, wisdom, power, and authority in its truest sense because He is God. Being whole as a church is being one body representing these qualities to the world in Christ’s stead. So, when the church is most whole, the gospel is most bright.
All of this might sound like too much. Unity is difficult when people are challenging. Love is taxing when it is not reciprocated. Speaking truth is grueling when it so often conflicts with culture. But Paul gave us this praise:
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.Ephesians 3:20-21
Confidence belongs to us because we belong to Christ. He is able. He can finish what He started. After all, it is His glory on the line, and He will not fail Himself. Paul’s good-bye is a fitting way for us to close on the supremacy of God’s love:
Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.Ephesians 6:23-24
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Meditate on what you learned by downloading this free wallpaper design for your favorite device and letting it stir your affections toward God’s great work of joining and holding together His church as we enjoy the benefits of love that produce purity and unity.