ONENESS OF THE ONE CHURCH: GEOGRAPHY NOT WITHSTANDING

Paul defined the church for us in Ephesians 1:22, 23:

". . . the church, which is His body . . ."

This church has "many members"(Romans 12:4), some of which now "sleep in Jesus"(I Thessalonians 4:14), while others are living throughout the earth. Time permitting, in God's great plan of grace, others will be added to this "glorious church" (Ephesians 5:27). All these "members," past, present, and future; here, there and "with the Lord" (Philippians 1:23) make up the "one body" (Ephesians 4:4), the one true church of this dispensation. We are all one, in the one true church, geography not withstanding!

This is why Paul carefully phrases I Corinthians 1:2 in the manner that he does:

"Unto the church of God which is at Corinth . . ."

This is not another church another body, then the one which he had spoken of in Ephesians 1:22, 23. This is the same church "the church of God which is at Corinth . . ." And when Paul speaks in this manner, he is talking about a portion of the church the part of the body that lived at Corinth. This is not a separate church, not a separate body of Christ. He did not call them, as many often would, the "Corinthian church" but instead, "the church . . . at Corinth." Do you understand the difference?

Paul, thus, addresses his "Corinthian" letter to the saints the saints which were at Corinth. There is only one body, one church. But some of its membership was at Corinth. Just like others were at "Cenchrea"(Romans 16:1), and various other geographic places, and yet others were "with the Lord."

Now, that is not all that Paul said in his opening greeting to the Corinthian believers. Let's continue:

"Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints . . ."

The "church of God which was at Corinth" was made up of those that were "sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints." But, again, that's not all he says:

"Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord . . ."

Did you catch the significance of that? The saints that lived in Corinth did not solely make up the "church of God." The portion of the "church of God" which was "at Corinth" was one and the same church "with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord . . ."

Do you know what that means? That means us as well. You and I here in the future are members with them those who lived in Corinth in Paul's day who are now with the Lord we are all members together of the one body, the church!

Clyde Pilkington

Gladstone, VA

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