Why Did Christ Establish The Church?

Non-Christian Jews did not believe Jesus Christ was the Messiah and never accepted Christianity.   In the early church many Jewish converts to Christianity did not like Paul preaching that a Gentile could become a Christian without first becoming a Jew and adhering to Jewish laws, traditions, circumcision and customs.  They also felt threatened that more Gentiles were becoming Christians than Jews.  While Paul was under house arrest in Rome he wrote a letter to Christians in Ephesus explaining God’s purpose for the church.

Ephesians 3:1 – 6 – “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly.  In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.  This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”

In the Old Testament God stated that faith would be the principle that would be used to judge all people.  The Jews were told that Christ would come to confirm the promises given to the Jews and their descendants but also that the Gentiles could glorify God for His mercy.

In Paul’s letter he writes that we can know God through Christ that gives us a picture and the character of God.  He also shares that Christ came to give us a gospel that was free of the law.  Paul backs up his preaching by giving evidence through the Old Testament.   Genesis 22:18 & Acts 3:25 – “And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.”

Scripture had not prophesized the church as we know it.  It was given by Christ to Paul through a revelation and confirmed to other apostles.   Therefore, the mystery that Paul is telling the Ephesians was God’s plan, that had been hidden, was to build His church a body of believers.  He would baptize Jews and Gentiles into it.  There would be no difference between them and they would be blessed equally.  The church has been described as the “mystical body of Christ”.  It would be headed by Christ and it was God’s way of spreading the good news—the gospel.  The Holy Spirit would give it and its believers God inspired faith, wisdom, knowledge and power to spread God’s “will” and God’s “grace” to mankind. One purpose for the church was to offer salvation to the world.

God would bless the Gentiles as spiritual equals was not a new revelation.  The mystery was that God’s plan of salvations and His blessing would bring the hope of eternal life to every individual on earth through Christ.  The church would be a spiritually united community that would worship God and abide by his commandments to love one another.  The church, as a whole, has many failings.  But in most ways it pursues the purpose God had intended.

 

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