Not too many years ago, while walking through a college campus, I saw a group of individuals holding up placards encouraging individuals to, “Love Christ, not the Church.” The church is seen as unforgiving, unloving, and un-Christlike. Scandals reverberate through various organizations claiming to be the church. Venomous words of hatred spew out of those claiming to speak in the name of Christ. It is understandable why many would be skeptical of those who claim to be the church. Consider a few passages of scripture which detail God’s design for the church, God’s feelings towards the church, and our responsibilities to the church.
Before the world ever came into existence, the Lord had purposed just exactly how His creation would exist. He knew where to place the Earth to provide a perfect place in the universe for life, and understood the intricate designs necessary to make His creation bountiful and good. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork.” Finally he created man. He gave them dominion over his creation, that man should wisely use its bounty for his benefit. He gave them a mind to think, to judge, and to understand His will for them. In their hearts he put eternity (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and in their perfection He designed them for that eternal purpose (Genesis 2:17).
Flesh can refer to the skin with its substrate of tissue, tendon and muscle, or it can be a synonym for the body as a whole. The Bible also uses the term for the being of mankind as in; “. . the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us . .”(John 1:4) Jesus did not become spirit. The Word was not made soul. Those expressions weren’t used because they are inadequate for a general description. Flesh defines us though we are body, soul, and spirit. It defines us because it is the most visible to us. The flesh requires a universe to inhabit; an earth with sky, dry land and seas, night and day, vegetation, insects, animals, fish, sun, moon and stars.
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.” Rev.12:7-8 This passage is a kind of prophetic flashback providing a prelude to unfolding events.
We have all sinned. Paul rightly illuminates that everyone in the world has sinned. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23 KJV) We have all sinned. We all need the forgiveness of the Lord. This is undeniable.
From age to age God has dealt with his creation in the same manner. He has framed his interaction and conveyed his wishes through the vehicle of a covenant. The beauty of God’s interaction can be seen in the uniform simplicity of the format of His message. This concept of a covenant is so integral to the Bible that the two major divisions are named the Old and New Testaments.
Thus Jesus spoke to the woman caught in the act of adultery. Her accusers wanted to corner Jesus through this matter. After all, He had put them on notice concerning the righteous mercy of God and their own unrighteousness. Consider these previous events from the book of John:
Jesus drove the money changers and sellers of livestock from the temple.
He taught that God did not send His Son to condemn, but to save.
A Samaritan woman was given hope.
A man was healed on the Sabbath
The leadership of Israel was criticized for scratching each others backs while rejecting the truth.
From the beginning of time on this earth, the spirit has been connected with life. It was the Spirit of God breathed into man bringing him to life (Genesis 2:7). Jesus tells us plainly that it is the Spirit who gives life (John 6:63), and James further states that “the body without the spirit is dead.” (James 2:26) If it is the Spirit that gives us life and keeps us alive, what is the significance of Peter’s promise to those who would repent and be baptized in Acts 2:38, that they might receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? The Spirit already gives and sustains us physically (Job 33:4). Thus, there must be more than just physical blessings that God, through the mouth of Peter, was promising.