In the book of Genesis, God creates not just one human being as the “image of God,” but two: a community (Gen. 1:26-27, NIV). He then calls this couple to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28, ESV), enlarging their community. Through Abraham, God chooses a specific community (Gen. 17, NIV) to represent His ways, and through Moses, God leads this once captive people into the Promised Land (Exod.).
This community has its ups and downs, but God is persistent throughout.
In the Gospels, Jesus proclaims and lives out the promise given through Abraham for the creation of a new kingdom. This kingdom includes the assembly of a small community (the twelve disciples) and ultimately (after the resurrection and the gathering of the believers at Pentecost in Acts 1 and 2), the creation of a diverse and global community: the Church. The Church is called the “Body of Christ” in much the same way that Adam and Eve are called the “image of God.”
This redeemed community of faith is meant to live out the ways of the new kingdom.
In the Christian faith, we teach that God is Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—with one nature but three persons.
This God, who is the perfect expression of community, creates a community to mirror His ways (the “image of God”) and then redeems this community so that its members may bear witness of the new kingdom that has overcome sin and death.
How can we better model God’s community in light of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? How can we better teach those who congregate with us that the Christian faith is not simply an individual experience but a relationship with God through the community of faith—the Church?
While it is true that God loves us individually and gives us unique gifts, He has created us for community. We need each other, and we find our greatest fulfillment and realize our fullest potential in the context of community within Church.
Let us pray for our local churches, for denominations, and for the fulfillment of God’s vision for community that will culminate when “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah” (Rev. 11:15, NIV).
Gracious Father, we pray for Your holy Church. Fill it
with all truth, in all truth, with all peace. Where it is corrupt,
purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is
amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in
want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake
of Jesus Christ Your Son, our Savior. Amen.
This post was written by Charles W. Christian the managing editor of Holiness Today. You can find the original post here: holinesstoday.org/the-god-of-community