Wineskins Archive

December 9, 2013

Individuals, Not An Institution — Final Thoughts (May 2012)

Filed under: — @ 2:28 pm and

By Edward Fudge

The ekklesia/church consists of individuals but it is not about individualism. New Testament writers emphasize the togetherness, the “one-anotherness” of the ekklesia/church. God did not send Moses door to door in Egypt, distributing maps with instructions on how to escape slavery one person at a time. God rescued all the Hebrews and all non-Israelites associated with them, in a single, mighty work of deliverance. Jesus does not rescue the world from sin by a succession of single-person saving events. He accomplished redemption once for all–and once done, it will never need doing again.

Jesus calls us through the gospel to a different way of life. We become living, organic members of the body of Christ. We are living stones in a spiritual building, joint citizens of a holy nation, fellow priests in a holy priesthood. Baptism is not an escape hatch to a place of individualized existence, where we are concerned with our own interests and indifferent to the needs and welfare of others. No, baptism is the gateway to a life with others. As redeemed people, we are part of a People — interdependent and not independent, gifted as God sees fit, with gifts to use in serving each other.

The fruit of the Spirit presuppose community. Christian graces are useless in a corner by oneself. And when we reach the end of the story, we do not dissolve into impersonal “soul” or become generic spirit. We are raised to immortality in individual bodies to join God and all the redeemed in everlasting community.

Copyright 2012 by Edward Fudge. You are urged to reproduce, reprint or forward this gracEmail, but only in its entirety, without change and without financial profit.

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