Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Scots Confession, Chapter XVI


(Before we begin, by Kirk, they mean Church)

As we believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, so we firmly believe that from the beginning there has been, now is, and to the end of the world shall be, one Kirk, that is to say, one company and multitude of men chosen by God, who rightly worship and embrace him by true faith in Christ Jesus, who is the only Head of the Kirk, even as it is the body and spouse of Christ Jesus.

This Kirk is catholic, that is, universal, because it contains the chosen of all ages, of all realms, nations, and tongues, be they of the Jews or be they of the Gentiles, who have communion and society with God the Father, and with his Son, Christ Jesus, through the sanctification of his Holy Spirit. It is therefore called the communion, not of profane persons, but of saints, who, as citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, have the fruit of inestimable benefits, one God, one Lord Jesus, one faith, and one baptism.

Out of this Kirk there is neither life nor eternal felicity. Therefore we utterly abhor the blasphemy of those who hold that men who live according to equity and justice shall be saved, no matter what religion they profess. For since there is neither life nor salvation without Christ Jesus; so shall none have part therein but those whom the Father has given unto his Son Christ Jesus, and those who in time come to him, avow his doctrine, and believe in him. (We include the children with the believing parents.)

This Kirk is invisible, known only to God, who alone knows whom he has chosen, and includes both the chosen who are departed, the Kirk triumphant, those who yet live and fight against sin and Satan, and those who shall live hereafter.

I love the church. I love the way we gather to worship, the way we hurt for each other, the way we celebrate with each other. May faith in Christ is strengthened because of the interactions I have with my fellow Christians--I see their faith and examine my own. I see their joy and share in it. I hear their prayers and am strengthened by them.

I couldn't be a Christian living on my own in the desert--I need the interactions and the faith of others to be in community. I believe that God designed us to be together (From the very beginning in Genesis it has said that it is not good for us to be alone) and that in the church we live that.

Being in the community takes work. It requires sacrifice and it requires devotion. I believe the rewards we reap are worth every ounce of the sacrifice, but that doesn't mean it is easy. But just like with every family and every other form of community, when we work together it can be so beautiful, and I believe that is worth all the hard work, the sweat and the tears, because it is so joyous to rejoice together!

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