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The Journal

The ambiguity of the church

Dear Friends, We begin a short series on 1 Corinthians 1-4 which looks at what the Bible teaches us about the church and Christian leadership and the Gospel. In 1 Corinthians 1:1-17 Paul calls the church at Corinth the church of God 1:1 and He thanks the Lord for God’s grace given to this church. Yet we know that this church was beset with division and jostling for power and pride as well as sexual sin. Sometimes as we look at the church & we find it hard to equate this with the reality we experience and the ideal of God’s purpose described in the Bible. Yet the letters of the New Testament do not hide the weakness and fragility of the church. Rev John Stott calls this the ambiguity of the church. By this he means that there is a gap between the calling of God and the reality we face. This should not surprise us because when God calls people to Himself it is not because we have any goodness inherent in us. In fact people become Christians solely because of God’s grace and mercy. Of course God expects us to grow in godliness as He provides the power of the Holy Spirit and the resources of His Word and His people and above all the power of the cross but Christian growth takes time. The ambiguity of the church recognises that we are God’s church but He has unfinished business with us. God’s blessing Rev David O’Mara