The great love chapter of the Bible (1 Corinthians 13) tells us that “when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.” Of course, Paul was speaking of the discarding of church structure (including all the communication protocols he was in the midst of describing when he digressed on the subject of love) that would occur when the eternal kingdom of God arrived.
This doing away with something of lesser value when something of greater value comes on the scene was very much in keeping with biblical standards. Moses’ tabernacle replaced the occasional altar of sacrifice offered by the patriarchs. Then the temple replaced Moses’ tabernacle. Then the church of the New Testament replaced the temple. Lastly, the kingdom of God replaced the church.
The reason that church life has been such a frustration to people who love the Lord ever since New Testament times, is that God did away with it when He brought in His kingdom shortly after the last of the New Testament documents was written – just as He promised. The church was a partial structure, intended only for apostolic times. For this reason, the apostles never gave instructions for its perpetuation beyond their generation. And for this reason, the structure of church has bedeviled believers for generations. Jesus has offered Himself – and been found – through every generation since the apostles, but as soon as believers shift their focus from Jesus to church, the mischief begins. Instead, believers should be seeking Jesus in His kingdom. He is its king! (As for the church, they allow Him to be king in name only.)
The kingdom of God is perfect. It cannot be shaken. The reason is cannot be shaken is that it is not administered by human hands. Because it cannot be shaken, the kingdom has endured through every generation, even when the church has been violently shaken. Church needs to go the way of the patriarchs’ altars and Moses’ tabernacle. That is, it needs to be lost to history. Unfortunately, it continues with us to this day like the ruins of the temple called the Wailing Wall with the hopeful chanting of prayers for the coming of a Messiah who has already come, and for the restoration of a Jerusalem that already sits secure from any human encroachment or corruption – fortified and glorified in the heavenly dimension.
Be done with the partial. It consumes attention belonging to the perfect. Let the partial burn on the ash heap outside the gates of our glorious Jerusalem.
Among you stands One whom you do not know! He is the Perfect One. Bow down to Him. And to Him only.
The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.