Monday, November 21, 2005

It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian

Tod E Bolsinger

So often as Christians we focus on the ‘wedding day’ of our salvation – the day a person begins a relationship with Christ. And yes, that is an exciting day. Salvation comes to the person, and the spirit takes up residence in the centre of that person’s being. But what about the next day and the day after that?

When Calvin comments on Ephesians 5, he doesn’t give a sermon on ‘submission’ or family relationships; he instead spends the entire passage talking about the intimacy of how Christ weds himself to us and how we are to be cleaved. The language comes right out of Genesis – that when we become believers, we are cleaved to Christ. And that literally we’re one flesh with Christ. And that we’re transformed through living with Christ. Believers and Jesus are to become like an old married couple who have stared at each other every morning over oatmeal for so long that they begin to look alike.

He offers an important description (and let me clarify with comments along the way):

That joining together of head and members [Christ is the head, we’re the members], that indwelling of Christ in our hearts. In short, that mystical union, [this is wedding language – technically, this is wedding night language] are accorded by us the highest degree of importance, so that Christ, having been made ours, makes us sharers with him in the gifts with which he has been endowed.

Do you now recognise what Calvin is teaching here? He’s saying that everything that Christ has becomes yours, and everything that is yours becomes Christ’s. The way the bank account becomes one in a marriage. The way the property becomes joint. The way in which at that moment when I officiate a wedding I tell couples that their lives are joined together in such a way that it will take an act of God and the state of California to separate them – and I also tell them, God will be more disappointed and the state will be more annoying if you do.

From chapter 3 of It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian – how the community of God transforms lives, published by Brazos Press 2004
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