After thousands of years, God’s plan for remaking a broken world is fulfilled in Jesus! At the cross, Jesus reconciled people to God. What’s more is that people are also reconciled to each other as a wonderful side effect of the cross!
I found it fascinating to read about the relationship between the Spirit and the cross (p127). The vivid imagery of God’s Spirit destroying any hearts uncleansed by Jesus’ death depicts the awesomeness of God’s holiness. It is impossible for our sinful human hearts to house the Spirit of a most holy God. But I didn’t quite understand what the Holy Spirit has to do with gathering of God’s people. It turns out that the Spirit’s coming signified the fulfilment of God’s original promise to Abraham. (p128 cf. Ga 3:14) It is the Spirit that reverses the curse of the Tower of Babel at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-12) and also gathers people into fellowship with God. I guess the fact that I had never considered the Spirit’s role in bringing about unity demonstrates my often restricted understanding of the Spirit.
I was also greatly challenged by the seven marks of an authentic local church, as discussed in Chapter 8. It looks so different to the churches I’m used to! Not because I’ve been in bad churches, but the reality is that Christians meet in a world broken by sin. Yet this chapter has lifted my view of Church to see in it the seeds of a remade world.
The gracious nature of the church stood out in particular. As I read about Jesus telling His disciples that His followers must become like children (p145), I was humbly convicted of my own dependence and lack of status before God. It is only by grace that I am accepted into His Church. What right do I have, then, to think that I am any better than others who have also received God’s grace? On what basis can I choose to not accept others? How easy it is for me to forget the very reason I’m a Christian in the first place and lapse into the sin of pride!
So in exploring the elements of a remade world, I was instead reminded of how far the church (and myself) fall from that end goal. May God continue to graciously gather and perfect His people!