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Jesu, Juva

Posts Tagged ‘church

Totus Christus

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Augustine spoke of the totus Christus, or the “whole Christ.” In saying this, he referred to the fact that Jesus and his church are in some ways inseparable, as husband and bride, head and body. Believers are both individually and corporately united to Jesus, and when the church is persecuted, Jesus is persecuted (Acts 9:4). He is in us and we are in him.

It is possible to stretch this imagery too far; it is a union and not an identity. And the church is utterly incomplete without Jesus, while the reverse is not true. Yet there are many applications we can draw from this.

First, this helps us to understand the doctrine of imputation. If the church is united to Jesus as body to head, then we as believers are brought into Jesus’s own obedience and death. We are actually made to be “in him” in his life and death and resurrection. Amazingly, in his death, Jesus chose to be united with us but forsaken by the Father. What love!

Second, it helps us to make some sense of Scripture’s speaking of being in Christ. Part of this is a spiritual reality. But part of it must be realized in the flesh by our participating in Christ’s church, his body. We cannot enjoy, experience and know the whole Christ if we seek to do so apart from his body the church. We must have a complete head-and-body relationship with Jesus. This also gives us a glimpse into one of the purposes of baptism. If we are baptized into Jesus (Romans 6:3), then part of that means that we are brought into his body, the church.

Third, this gives us a deeper understanding of the imagery of the Lord’s Supper. It is clear that the bread and wine represent Jesus’s body and blood. But we can understand Jesus’s body in two ways — his physical body, and his body the church. It seems that Paul has both of these senses in mind when he writes of the bread and body in 1 Corinthians 10-11. He links the one loaf of bread to the unity of Jesus’s church-body. And when he writes of “discerning the body,” I believe he is primarily concerned that we discern the body as the church, eating the Supper with love and preference for one another. We eat the Supper in a way that reflects the unity we have in the gospel. And in the following chapter, Paul elaborates even further on the image of the church as a body, emphasizing that we must walk in honor and preference and care for one another.

Finally, this reminds us that one of the ways that Jesus is with us to the end of the age (Matt 28:20) is through his church, through our shared life with one another. We enjoy his presence through his word and his Spirit, but also through his body.

Written by Scott Moonen

July 7, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Posted in Biblical Theology

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A gospel catechism

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Our church practices credobaptism, and I’ve assembled this catechism to help ready my children for a pastoral interview. We’re also learning the apostle’s creed, below. Some influences are my pastors Phil Sasser and Daniel Baker, and also Chris Schlect and the Westminster-based catechism for young children. I’d be grateful for suggested improvements.

Catechism

Sin

What is your sin?
Disobeying God’s word (1 John 3:4)
What is the penalty for your sin?
Death (Romans 6:23)

Gospel

What is the gospel?
Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was raised from the dead; just as God promised. (1 Cor 15)

Father

Why does God love you?
He made me His child.
How do you know that God loves you?
He gave his son Jesus for me.

Jesus

Who is Jesus?
He is God’s son, my maker, savior and king. He is my life and my treasure.
How is Jesus your Savior?
Jesus died in my place, so I am forgiven and adopted.
Where is Jesus now?
He rose from the dead and sits at our Father’s right hand.
How is Jesus your King?
He leads, provides, cares for and protects me.

Holy Spirit

Who is the Holy Spirit?
He is my helper.
How does he help you?
He gives me life, peace, comfort, and strength to become more like Jesus.

Response

What is faith?
Resting on Jesus for my salvation (Psalm 62:5-8)
Why do you love God?
He is great and good, and he loves me.
What is repentance?
To be sorry for my sin, to hate it as God does, and to keep turning from it
Why do you obey God?
Because I love him

Church, now and then

Who are God’s people?
They make up his church.
What does his church do?
We display God’s greatness and beauty, and serve and care for one another.
What will become of God’s people?
God will keep us to the end.
What happens at the end?
Jesus will restore his creation and live with his people.

Baptism

What is baptism?
Baptism is God’s marking out a person as his own.
What does your baptism signify?
I am cleansed from my sin by Jesus’s blood, and united to him in his death and resurrection.
Why do you want to be baptized?
Because I belong to Jesus

Apostles’ creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, where he sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Written by Scott Moonen

October 14, 2009 at 6:05 am