The Sons & the Church
God can only have
the church that He
desires as we receive
and grow up in
His divine life
In the New Testament, Ephesians is the unique book that unveils the Church, in so many aspects: as the Body of Christ (1:22-23); God’s masterpiece (2:10); the One New Man (2:15); God’s kingdom and God’s household (2:19); the dwelling place of God (2:21-22); the Bride of Christ (5:31-32); and finally, as the warrior against God’s enemy (6:11-12). It is the only book of the Bible which uses the phrase, “God’s eternal purpose,” and it shows us that this purpose is to make God’s wisdom known through the church (3:10-11).
It is important to remember, however, that even though this is a book on the church, it does not begin with the church. Rather, it begins with the many sons of God, telling us that God “predestinated us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself” (1:5, RcV). And of course, almost the entire first chapter reveals to us the many blessings, the many “well-speakings” (that is what the Greek word means) these sons have received from God in Christ. Only then does the chapter conclude by telling us that “the church…is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all” (1:23).
The lesson here is very simple, but very important: God cannot have the church without His many sons. Or, to look at it in a positive way, God must have His many sons in order to have the church.
Why is this? Because the church is only produced by God imparting Himself as the divine life into human beings, so that they share His life and nature. This is pictured in Eve being produced from Adam’s side to be his bride: in the same way that everything she was came out of Adam (Gen. 2:18-24), so everything the church is comes forth from Christ. It is only because we share in His life and nature that we can be His Body and His Bride (cf. 5:30-32).
God, however, does not diffuse His life into the air. Rather, He imparts it into specific human beings, so that they become His children, His sons (John 1:12-13). So, when we help others to be born anew with the divine life, or to grow in their measure and experience of the divine life, or when we ourselves grow in our measure of Christ (Col. 1:24-29), that is when the Body of Christ is being produced.
In brief, it is by this spreading and growth of the divine life to produce the many sons of God that God will ultimately gain the church that He desires.
This should cause us to have a deep feeling: my growth in Christ is not only for my own sake. Rather, by my growth in Christ the entire Body of Christ is being built up and prepared to be the Bride of Christ:
From whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
— Ephesians 4:16
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— 11 May 2023 —