1st May 2013

We Are Two-Parent Christians

 “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift … for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
Ephesians 4:7, 12-13 (NKJV)

In the list of foundational items which Paul gives us in Hebrews 6:1-2, we come to the “laying on of hands.” As we saw in another study, this is done by “the eldership” (1 Timothy 4:14).

Many Christians in this day and age claim no membership of a church. Often such Christians are resolute that they do not want to be members of any church. They are stand alone Christians, part of the body of Christ, the true and only Church, but have no need of any human institution.

However, Paul says that the gift of the Holy Spirit is imparted to the new Christian through the hands of the eldership. Christians actually need contact with other Christians. It is part of the “growing in Christ” process, that we have interaction with other Christians in fellowship. The lone Christian is unknown in the Bible: “(Let us) not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…” (Hebrews 10:25 NIV UK). And he gives the valid reason for this in the previous verse: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.”

In other symbolism Paul likens marriage between husband and wife as the relationship between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:23). In human society, many today survive in one-parent families. And even orphans can succeed in life. But most agree the best model for the nurturing of children is the standard two-parent family. And the same is true of the new creation that is the new Christian. Christians need both Christ and the church. And not least for the laying on of hands and the impartation of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Could God have done this another way, without involvement of the elders of a church? Yes, he could. But he has chosen not to do so. And we do best within the methods and manner that God has set out for us. And that has to be foundational for the success of any new Christian.

Heavenly Father, when you told us that you would never leave us as orphans but would come to us, you have honoured that pledge both with the Holy Spirit and the church. We give you thanks for the human institution of the church, despite seemingly fragmented among all the various denominations. Still, collectively it is the body of Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray.

johnstettafordAbout the Author:
John Stettaford is an Elder in the Reading Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Reading
Prospect School, 6th Form Common Room
Honey End Lane
RG30 4EL

Meeting time:
Saturday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:
John Stettaford
Phone:  01923-241426
Email: pastor@wcg-reading.org.uk

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