Because the Church represents Jesus in all of His glory upon the earth, like Jesus, there are many facets to the Church. In Scripture, the New Testament, there are fourteen different descriptive words used to describe this amazing world-wide community that Jesus is building.
1> A New Race
See Galatians 6; Ephesians 2; 1 Peter 2
The Scriptures listed above tell us that we are ‘a new humanity,’ ‘a chosen generation,’ ‘one new man,’ and ‘a new creation.’
When Jesus made His entrance into human history, He was an endangered species on this planet. He was the first of a new kind of person. Jesus was God’s original thought for humanity, but God’s original intent for humanity became corrupt with the fall. In His death and resurrection, Christ introduced a new species. The Church is neither Jew nor Gentile, male or female, slave or free, but “a new human” altogether.
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Galatians 6:15 “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”
So we should be looking at our local church to see if the members see themselves as part of a new humanity, a new species, and a new wave. Or, do they relate to the other believers in their local church based on their natural distinctions of physical race, nationality, gender, and social class? Are they loving and accepting or are they critical and judgmental of anyone who is not like them?
2> A Family
See Galatians 6; Ephesians 2: 1 John 2
This is one of the most striking images presented in all of the New Testament. Visions of family dominated Paul’s writings. All throughout his letters (epistles), Paul speaks of brethren, children, fathers, and mothers. We are ‘regenerated’ or ‘born anew’ into the blameless family of God.
God becomes our Father and Jesus our Elder Brother. Fellow believers, Christians, become our sisters and brothers. The writings of John and Peter are also sprinkled with the language and imagery of family.
Ephesians 2:19 “You Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens with everyone else who belongs to the family of God.”
So, do the members of your local church treat one another as part of the same family? Do they know one another on a personal, even intimate, level? Do they experience themselves as members of an extended household? Do they take care of one another just as the members of a healthy family do?