Biblical Phrases and Terms for God's Special People
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia summarizes the other descriptions of the people of God in the New Testament:
"This Church is not a human organization; it is God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10) . . . It may thus be described in several pregnant phrases, of which the following are to be noted.
"The Church is the people or Israel of God (Eph. 2:12; cf. 1 Peter 2:1), in whom there is fulfillment of the ancient covenant promise: 'I will be your God, and you shall be my people.'
"It is the household or family of God (Eph. 2:19; 3:15; 4:6), consisting of those who are adopted by God as sons and heirs in Christ.
"It is the planting of God to bring forth fruit to His glory (1 Cor. 3:10: cf. Jn. 15:1f.).
"It is the temple of God, built by God Himself in Christ to be His dwelling and therefore to be the center of true holiness and worship (Eph. 2:21f.: cf. Jn. 2:19f.: 1 Cor. 3:9; 1 Pet. 2:4f.).
"It is the bride of Christ for which the Bridegroom gave Himself that it might be presented, cleansed, sanctified, and pure at the eternal marriage feast (Eph. 5:25).
"It is the body of Christ, the fullness of Him that fills all in all, Christ Himself being the head (Eph. 4:15f.) and yet also in a true sense the totality (1 Cor. 12:12), with each Christian being a member in particular (1 Cor. 12:27)."
These references tell us much about the biblical definition of the Church. Rather than a building, the Church is a called-out assembly—the group of believers invited to come out of the world for God's special purpose.
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