Joined Together

Posted Dec 10th, 2018 in Relationships, Glen Slingerland

Joined Together

Your ‘personal’ relationship with Jesus is more corporate than personal.

Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, “In [Jesus] the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Eph. 2:21-22). Note the verb tenses: they are present and progressive. We are joined together (presently) and are being built together (progressively). Peter calls us “living stones”, suggesting on-going construction (1 Peter 2:5). Growth and maturity occur when every part does its work (Eph. 4:16). You need others. Others need you. We are an interconnected community that is meant to work together as a unit, not as mere individuals. 

Shortly before his death, Jesus prayed for the unity of believers as a collective whole: “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message [that’s us!] that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…I have given them the glory that you gave me…so that they may be brought to complete unity” (John 17:20-22). Mind-blowing!

Perhaps considering this prayer gets you thinking of eternity. John saw the final outcome of God’s building project: “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God…” (are you picturing buildings and city walls? Keep reading!) “…prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev. 21:2). We are the New Jerusalem!

In the Advent season, we celebrate the coming of the Promised One, who came to bring shalom to earth- unity, harmony, wholeness. His sacrifice on the cross not only bridged the gap between sinners and God, but also joined together his chosen ones into one- one body, one family, one temple, one bride. Not only do we remember the first coming of Jesus, but looking forward we anticipate the return of the Bridegroom, the consummation of our eternal union with him, and the joy of fellowship with one another in peace and unity!

This Christmas season, are you trying to live out your relationship with Jesus individually, or are you operating as an indispensable part of the whole?