We’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in the 17th Century. Recently we’ve been answering questions about God’s church. Last time we saw that all God’s people (past, present and future) are part of the ‘invisible’ church. But what are the benefits of being part of the invisible church?
If you are part of the invisible church, one of the great benefits is the union and communion that you have with Christ, which means you share in his grace and glory.
Jesus prays for such unity in his high priestly prayer: ‘I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one–I in them and you in me– so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world’ (John 17:20-24).
Jesus prays that all believers may be united with one another, just as the Son and the Father are united. But he also prays that the invisible church may be in the Son and in the Father. Jesus also prays that invisible church will be with him and thereby share in his glory.
And this desire of Christ became a reality. God granted the request of Jesus. Paul teaches that we are now united with Christ: ‘…because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions– it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus’ (Ephesians 2:4-7).
Even now, the invisible church has been raised with Christ and is seated with him. The elect reign with Christ over all creation and share in his glory.
This privilege of unity with Christ then becomes a witness to the watching world. In Christ’s priestly prayer we saw that as the church is in Christ, the world knows that the Father has sent the Son and that the Father has loved the church even as he has loved the Son. Our unity is a testimony to the world.
Paul speaks of this when he says that God has raised us up with Christ ‘in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus’.
So the invisible church receives union with Christ. And that union with Christ is a marvelous witness to God’s grace.
So are you part of the ‘invisible’ church? Do you reign with Christ over this world? Turn from your sin and trust in Christ today and begin to enjoy union with the Son.