'So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God….'
'He can no longer have God as his Father who has not the church as his Mother.'
- Cyprian, De Unitate Ecclesiae
'It is a company of faithful and holy people, or persons called out of the world to fellowship with Jesus Christ, and united in one congregation to him as members to their head, and one with another, by a holy covenant for mutual fellowship in all such ways of holy worship of God, and of edification of one towards another.'
- John Davenport's Creed, cited in John Cotton's, The Covenant of Free Grace, p. 112
Heidelberg Catechism, Question 55.
What do you understand by "the communion of saints"?
First, that all and every one, who believes, being members of Christ, are in common, partakers of him, and of all his riches and gifts; secondly, that every one must know it to be his duty, readily and cheerfully to employ his gifts, for the advantage and salvation of other members.
'We are not only Christian people; we are also church people. We are not only committed to Christ; we are also committed to the body of Christ.'
- John Stott, The Living Church, p. 19
'The purpose of an image is to represent something. God has made us persons-in-community to be the vehicle through which he would reveal his glory.'
- Chester and Timmis, Total Church, p. 47
Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,
I am not sure it is possible to express strongly enough the importance of the church. We need one another. These are not popular words these days. It is a popular and acceptable notion that the Christian life can exist outside of a relationship to a local congregation. And while this may be theoretically true, it is not God's intention or design. When God saves us, He saves us to a relationship with Himself and saves us into a relationship with one another in the context of the church. For a Christian to live their life outside of relationship with other believers is to deny himself the grace of God directed to them in the mystery and glory of God in the body of Christ. The church is Christ's body where believers are joined both objectively and relationally to one another. Suffice it to say, you will be crippled in your Christian life without a vibrant relationship to one another through life together in the church. This is God's intention for you and His gift to you. If we claim to be a member of God's household, it is important that we truly are built together as members of God's household. We cannot survive alone for very long. We were meant for one another. We are His workmanship, joined together, for good works in Christ. The glory of the gospel is revealed in the magnificent mosaic of different people gathered together in one common bond. This shows the radical and encompassing nature of the love of God to His people through Christ. The glory of God is revealed in much grander hues when we are together than when we are alone. The church is God's grace to you and for you.
I'm thanking God for you and for making us fellow citizens together with the saints and members of His household.