Biblical Phrases and Terms for God's Special People

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Biblical Phrases and Terms for God's Special People

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The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia summarizes other descriptions of the people of God in the New Testament (emphasis added): "This Church is not a human organization; it is God's workmanship (Ephesians 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 (Ephesians 2:12; cf. 1 Peter 2:10), 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 (Ephesians 2:19; Ephesians 3:15; Ephesians 4:6), consisting of those who are adopted [or, rather, spiritually begotten] by God as sons and heirs in Christ.

"It is the planting of God to bring forth fruit to His glory (1 Corinthians 3:10: cf. John 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 (Ephesians 2:21f.; cf. John 2:19f.; 1 Corinthians 3:9; 1 Peter 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 (Ephesians 5:25).

"It is the body of Christ, the fullness of Him that fills all in all, Christ Himself being the head (Ephesians 4:15f.) and yet also in a true sense the totality (1 Corinthians 12:12), with each Christian being a member in particular (1 Corinthians 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.