We come to God as individuals. We see our sinfulness, see the love of God in the cross of Christ, receive the gospel message, and are saved. This is our individual response to the grace of God. God saves us in Christ Jesus; he sets us apart from the world and sets us apart to Himself, and He will one day glorify us completely in Christ. This is all the work of God in us.
And, His work in us results in His work through us.
The Lord calls us to gather together as a church to hear the preaching of the Word and to minister to other Christians. We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ – together as a church. We minister one to another. The true body of Christ includes all the Christians in heaven and on earth. But the church on earth is assigned a unique ministry by God.
We are to fellowship together, be fortified in the truth, and then to go out into the world to live for the Lord.
We function as lights in a dark world – witnessing the truth through our conduct and through our speech. We are ambassadors of Christ – sent into the world as living witnesses to proclaim the gospel of Christ. Who is sufficient for such a ministry? No one! But God equips us individually and corporately to go forth in the power of the Holy Spirit and represent Him.
Our faith and trust is not in ourselves or the church, but in the Head of the church – Jesus Christ alone.
Seeing this great challenge, Paul prayed, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory of God (Philippians 1:9-11). It is only by the grace of God and His power that we can engage in the responsibilities that He sets before us. He presents the challenge, He prepares our hearts, He works in our midst – and we go out with His power and His presence.
First His work in us – individually and corporately – and then his work through us.
When we go forth in obedience to Him, we accomplish His work by His power. Christ alone is the sufficiency for our unworthiness and inability. In our weakness we see His power and glorify Him!
-Gary W. Custis