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The Church as the Theatre of God’s Glory

I love the church and love thinking about not just her function, but also the nature that undergirds those functions. Mark Dever has made known the wonderful idea, “The church is the gospel made visible.” While this is a brief quote from John Calvin, I love how he captures this idea for the church existing for the glory of God. While the whole world is displaying God’s glory in some fashion, Calvin described the church as an orchestra, which connotes both beauty and visibility. The church is the most glorious way that His attributes are clearly displayed and where people have a window into the love that God’s people have for one another (John 13:34-35). This imagery is needful for us to keep in mind as we seek to display the riches of God’s Word through preaching, show forth visible displays of the gospel through the ordinances, and rightly discipline the church so as to pursue holiness in the midst of the world. May this image of the church be front and center in our minds as live corporately for His glory.

The whole world is a theatre for the display of the divine goodness, wisdom, justice, and power, but the Church is the orchestra, as it were—the most conspicuous part of it; and the nearer the approaches are that God makes to us, the more intimate and condescending the communication of his benefits, the more attentively are we called to consider them.

Jeremy Kimble (PhD, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at Cedarville University. He is an editor for Credo Magazine as well as the author of That His Spirit May Be Saved: Church Discipline as a Means to Repentance and Perseverance and numerous book reviews. He is married to Rachel and has two children, Hannah and Jonathan.

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