What is the church? A building? A location? An institution? A denomination?
ἐκκλησία (ecclesia) is the word in the New Testament for church. It is not a particularly religious term. It is a gathering of people, whether that be citizens gathered for a civic purpose, or soldiers gathered for military purposes. An ecclesia is a congregation, an assembly, or a community. It is about people who gather together for a particular purpose.
That is what the church is, a gathering of people for a particular purpose.
In Ephesians 5: 25-27, Paul whilst reflecting on husbands and wives, makes a connection between Jesus and
the church. and in doing so, gives us a glimpse into how Jesus views us and what he wants for us.
He wants “to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and
When we are told he is going to “present her” this can sounds a little weird to us, but what this is about is that when the church (people) is without blemish, when she is holy, when she is blameless, it is the Jesus has made it possible for her to be so. It is what He does so that she can be beautiful.
So what is beautiful for Jesus?
It’s us transformed. It’s us redeemed. It’s us no longer marred by sin. It’s us reflecting the glory of God. It’s us living in sync with God.
Jerry Bridges in his book, Transforming Grace, writes, “Jesus did not die just to save us from the penalty of sin, nor even to just to make us holy in our standing before God. He died to purify for himself a people eager to obey Him, a people eager to be transformed into his likeness.”
This is what is means to be beautiful. This is His purpose for the church.
God no only forgives us, but oﬀers us transformation into the likeness of Jesus. To be a people who not only talk about Jesus, but are supposed to be like him.
The church is not a building, an institution, a denomination, it is simply a people who are seeking to know Jesus, accept his forgiveness, and be like Him.