We have all heard about Jesus’s sacrifice for us individually. That he died on the cross to take our sins on himself. That he received the correction and punishment due to us so that we can walk in freedom. We have been saved from the death that sin produces so we can stand alive in his presence. Not because we earned it, but because of his great sacrifice to restore all things to himself. He loves you and gave himself up for you.
This is the gospel that we have heard communicated a thousand different ways. In a thousand different settings. All of this is beautiful, and true. Scriptural. The gospel is for you and for me. But it’s also for us.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:25–26, emphasis added)
The church stands redeemed and purchased. You and I together stand redeemed and purchased. Together, we are washed clean by his word. We will one day be presented to Jesus in the perfection we were created to have. One day we will be presented without spot or wrinkle because of Jesus’s care for his bride. Jesus died for me, but he also died for us.
We need to view the local church not only as individual but as a significant part of the universal beauty of the church. What I love so much about OUTCRY is that each night I get to see imperfect churches around the world join together to make a beautiful sound for God—as one. Getting vision for this begins with us grasping the significance of our church. When we commit to our church we commit to the church.