One concept from the awesome book was on the historical consensus about Christians being involved in the local church.
The universal church – every believer across the globe – is inexplicably connected to the local church. As we are connected to the local church, we’re connected to the larger body.
When God sent Jesus to the world, his work was being done through him. After the resurrection and ascension, God’s grace to the world often comes through the church, of which Christ is the head.
It’s often been said the church is the hands and feet of Jesus. The church is not the source of God’s grace, but it is the primary means of God’s grace in our world.
Dr. Bounds goes on to say, we can’t become people of God in isolation from these means of grace in Christian community.
When someone tries to grow in God’s grace on their own, they are missing out on the key component of walking the road with others in faith. It’s difficult to experience maturity without practicing and growing in the context of the church. It’s most often in the habits and actions that growth and discipleship is formed in us.
Jesus designed the church to meet the spiritual needs of the world while at the same growing those who are serving as his hands and feet.
Of course, there may be some extreme circumstances where a believer can’t gather with the local church (thereby not being able to be a part of the universal church) such as prison isolation or living in a place where there is not one other believer in the region. But most often in our context, a believer has just fallen away from meeting with the local church. If that’s you, take stock of your spiritual growth, discipleship, and maturity in the faith. Is it growing? Are you closer to God and his word? Are you able to actively share God’s grace with the world?
You are encouraged to join back together with the church – it’s God design that believers would be part of the local church.