I’m reading Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology with a group of guys, and I was really encouraged by this paragraph about metaphors for the church.? The ideas are explained more in the rest of the chapter.? It’s definitely worth reading!
Each of the metaphors used for the church can help us to appreciate more of the richness of privilege that God has given us by incorporating us into the church.? The fact that the church is like a family should increase our love and fellowship with one another.? The thought that the church is like the bride of Christ should stimulate us to strive for greater purity and holiness, and also greater love for Christ and submission to him.? The image of the church as branches in a vine should cause us to rest in him more fully.? The idea of an agricultural crop should encourage us to continue growing in the Christian life and obtaining for ourselves and others the proper spiritual nutrients to grow.? The picture of the church as God’s new temple should increase our awareness of God’s very presence dwelling in our midst as we meet.? The concept of the church as a priesthood should help us to see more clearly the delight God has in the sacrifices of praise and good deeds that we offer to him (see Heb. 13:15 – 16).? The metaphor of the church as the body of Christ should increase our interdependence on one another and our appreciation of the diversity of gifts within the body.? Many other applications could be drawn from these and other metaphors for the church listed in Scripture.