One of the most common ways that we speak of the church is as a place or an event. It is somewhere to go to. But of all the ways that the Bible describes the church, this isn’t one of them. Instead, the Bible describes the church as something much more important.
Virtually every time the Bible uses the word “church” it is used in reference to the people of God. And we see this in two very important ways:
- First, the church is God’s people in one location. It is a group of believers who have come together to celebrate and proclaim the good news of the gospel. Whether in a 30,000 square-foot facility, a school cafeteria, or under a tree, it is an expression of the church.
- Second, the church is God’s people in all times and places. Regardless of language, ethnicity, or moment in history, all who have trusted in Christ’s death and resurrection are united together as the church.
Whatever else we want to say about the church, and whatever metaphors we might use to describe the church, we cannot lose sight of this truth. The people of God—all who have been redeemed by Christ—are the church. And the people of God, the church, seek to live under God’s ruling care while we are protected and cared for by Him.