God created the church to be eternal.
This is a basic Christian conviction: Nothing created lasts forever.
Where is ancient Babylon? Persia? The Greeks? The Roman Empire? Other great civilizations? History testifies that impressive things of the past are now only ruins, and those of the present shall be also. All earthly things are coming to an end (2 Peter 3:10b).
No company, no philanthropic organization with good intentions, no nation, no empire — nothing built by man, regardless of its splendor — is eternal. Of all things God made, only one is fully enduring: the church! Christ said, “On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18, NKJV throughout). To Him be glory forever!
The church is the most glorious idea. Though the heavens and earth, the sun, stars and all creation have their glory, this does not compare to the glory and grandeur for which the family of God was created. It was God’s will from the beginning to have a family for eternity, to exalt and manifest His goodness, wisdom, and justice. We were created for His honor and glory. We may accomplish many things for our personal well-being and achieve everything humanly attainable, but our life was created for more than what’s human. We were created to magnify the greatness of our God. Neither the sun in all its splendor nor space in all its greatness nor creation in all its beauty can be compared to the eternal glory of church, the glory of her Redeemer
The church is the most sublime idea because Christ died to rescue it from eternal death. The Son of God gave His life not for just any creature, but for His bride. He shed His blood on the cross to pay the price for her. In His suffering and death, our Savior demonstrated the nobility of His character: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27).
The church is the greatest idea that God and His Son have created. This greatness is expressed when the church participates in the divine nature. It goes from the corruptible to the incorruptible, from the historical to the eternal, through being rescued from corruption in the world (2 Peter 1:4). Thanks be to God and His Son for giving us the blessing of belonging to His family.
If God created the church to be eternal, what is the implication?
It is this: Since the church will never cease to exist and all God’s children will live together forever, let us start today to love the family of God. If we don’t, will we enter eternity to extend our hand and eat from the Tree of Life? Since all the church will live together forever, we better get along today as God’s family.
How do we know when we love the church? When we serve and give our lives for her (Mark 10:45).
It is said that time is money. Rather, time is the life that God has given us. So if time is life, when we address each in serving the church, we will be giving our lives.
We love when we function as members of His body (Ephesians 4:15, 16). As members of one body, we must work in unity according to the place or position where God has placed us so that everything is well and so the body will grow.
We love when we contribute to the church’s edification (Romans 14:19). We should always be ready and available for the edification of the church, going beyond what she tells us to do. Paul gives an example of edification to the Ephesians: “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).
We love when we meet together (Hebrews 10:25).
There is no perfect church. However, our imperfection will be eradicated when our Lord comes. Meanwhile, imperfection should not be a reason for us to stop congregating. If I’m criticized at church, if there is nothing there to make me feel good, and if it does not meet my expectations or give me what I need, choosing another church will not solve my problem because there is no perfect church.
The alternative is not to stop meeting together but to love the church. Love covers a multitude of imperfections and can forgive many offenses (Proverbs 10:12).
We love when we do not judge (James 4:11, 12). When our attitude is to only criticize and condemn the church, we replace God as judge. We are not people who want to love their brothers. Our role is not to judge and condemn our brothers but to bear with one another in the love of the Lord.
If we are not loving the church, we should change our perspective toward the family of God and begin to love those we will live with in eternity. God loves the fellowship because He gets the glory when the church is in harmony. A classic reading of the Old Testament invites us to live in a way that should be a reality in our lives that “God has created the church to be eternal.”
This should be our conviction: The church was created to be eternal.