Commentary on "Community"
Day 3: Monday, June 15, 2009
“A saint was not some ancient, larger-than-life, perfect Christian, but anyone called and set apart by God who became part of the community of faith.” —John C. Brunt, "Romans", The Abundant Life Bible Amplifier (Boise, Idaho: Pacific Press® Publishing Association, 1996), p. 42.
This section never really talks about the privilege of belonging to Christ’s body.
“…who became a part…” Again, there is a complete focus on what a person does, rather than who a person is based upon Whose that person is. Brunt equates being a saint with becoming a part of the community of faith. I think he completely misses the point that “anyone called and set apart by God” is already a member, by definition, of God’s church and, therefore, a member of the community of faith.
But, for an Adventist, their community of faith is everything. Their arguments are exactly the same as the Judaizers of old; only the means are different. They contrast their “community” with all others, calling themselves the true “spiritual Israel” because they claim to keep The Law. They don’t keep the latter any better than anyone else, so, therefore, they cannot be the former.
Instead of really focusing on the incredible privilege of belonging to the body of Christ, they ask questions like this (from the Teacher’s Comments): “How should a church respond to members who make moral or ethical mistakes?”
All discussion in this part of the lesson revolves around membership in the local body. We simply are not called to compare ourselves to others (i.e. how do you fit in with your local body). We are called to walk by faith in what Jesus has accomplished in us and to respond to His leading in our lives. He is the one, through the Holy Spirit, who gives the gifts and fits us together for His purposes. To ask “how do I fit in” is to fall into exactly the same trap as the Corinthians created for themselves.
It is not a church organization’s role, either locally or on the wider stage, to usurp the Holy Spirit’s role. We are not to carry around a clip board with a checklist of “body parts” we need to be successful congregations. Instead, we ask God to reveal to us how He wants to use this particular collection of “body parts” to serve humanity to His honor and glory.
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