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The word church mentioned in the New Testament comes from the Greek term ekklesia which is formed from two Greek words meaning “an assembly” and “to call out” or “called out ones.” The Bible says there is but one body, or church, into which Jesus calls His end-time people – the bride of Christ. Marriage is frequently employed in Scripture as an illustration of the relationship between Christ and His people (Isa. 54:5; 62:5; Jer. 3; Eze. 16:8–63; Hosea 2:18–20; Eph. 5:25–32)
The New Testament church is a body of believers who have been called out from the world by God to live as His people under the authority of Jesus Christ “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23).
This group of believers or “the body of Christ” began in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost through the work of the Holy Spirit and will continue till the coming of the Lord. The universal church consists of all those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
The Lord has bestowed upon His beloved church all the grace it needs to reflect His image “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27). The One who gave up His Son to a dreadful death also gives abundantly of His other riches (Rom. 8:32).
God’s grace is given freely that the church may be perfected and have victory over sin. Through faith in Christ, the believers can develop the Christian virtues and manifest the fruits of the spirit which are “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22,23).
In His service,