Sunday, April 1, 2012


A question posed in response to the previous blog prompted me to re-post this, which I then entitled "The Congregation of God", At the time I was seeking to find some way of separating our modern concept of "church" from the Biblical concept of the Church.


Is human beings, people who have been called by the Holy Spirit into a family relationship with God the Father; a relationship created by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and embraced through the unearned gift of saving faith in His finished work.

Is recognized only by that initial relationship with God the Father and the common familial relationship which result with others who are called, all having only one recognized Head, the Lord, Jesus Christ. .

Can never be initially recognized by common institutional, organizational membership.

Is led by those who have, over a period of years, gradually been recognized by virtue of their exhibiting the Scriptural gifts and qualifications of leadership, by fellow believers, with whom they are in relationship.

Is where each individual, whether male or female, is understood to have personal and spiritual worth as a brother or sister in family, under the headship of the one Head, and able to contribute according to the gifts and qualifications, which each one called inevitably has, of membership in that family;

Is where each member of the family is understood to be traveling a road of many twists and turns, which is common to all, with difficult obstacles, some of which, depending on the individual needs, all will need help to traverse, no matter how long since the journey began.

Is, because they are family, able to worship God by the way they live, work, play, and study their common faith, share, sing and pray, in Christ centered, Spirit endowed unity, regardless of differences.

Is a family who is more concerned about making disciples of others who are encouraged to form new families, rather than the original family getting larger and enriching themselves with real estate, buildings and comforts.

Is a spiritual family where it is normal for conversations to center on family matters which are for the mutual building up of each other towards spiritual maturity.

Is a family which continually devotes themselves to the teaching of the apostles, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to times of prayer, expecting God to work amongst them and those for whom they pray.

Is a family which shows the wider community that they are disciples, by their love for one another, and prove for all to witness, the Scriptural truth that because God loves them, they cannot help but love, reaching out in humility, mercy and grace, and without favor, to the non-family people around them, reflecting the Christ to whom they belong.


Wayne Abernathy said...

John, the focus of this post on development of spirituality (which I would define as drawing closer to Christ) resonates with me. It speaks about the personal and transformational power of God in the life of each person. What I feel missing in this definition is the forgiveness of sins and the power and authority of God to administer the ordinances of salvation.

Aussie John said...


I appreciate your interest, but your concern is satisfied in the first paragraph of my article.

Only those who have received new life in Jesus Christ,the absolute requirement for belonging to His family, have "the forgiveness of sins"!

Only God, incarnate in the Lord Jesus Christ, is invested with "the power and authority of God to administer the ordinances of salvation".

Both of these points are inherent in what I have written.

I do understand where you are coming from.

Paul Burleson said...


When Aussie J said this..."and embraced through the unearned gift of saving faith in His finished work."....he was capturing the essence of biblical repentance if I'm understanding scripture correctly.

I like to think of "Repentance of sins" [sins plural] as being for believers as stated in 1 Jn 1:9. "Saying the same thing" about the "acts of our wills" that God says. [Repentance]

But unbelievers are never called upon to do that. They are called to a "Repentance of sin." [Sin singular] "Saying the same thing" about the "state of our soul" that God says, and having "faith in Christ."

In terms of salvation I'm thinking one can't separate faith and repentance. To be a believer one places faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sin. [singular]

My understanding is that faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin. That is, a change of mind, or repentance, about a way of life and a new way of life resulting. And as Aussie J said, all this is.."embraced through the unearned gift of saving faith in His finished work."

These are just my fallible thoughts on biblical repentance.

By the way,... Aussie J, I'm finding it interesting that the concept of "the state of the soul: [sin singular] is foreign to the OT and Paul introduces it in his writings [Particularly Romans] as a New Covenant concept entirely. I certainly could be wrong here but it looks that way to me.

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