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By Curtis Pugh

What is the right goal for a congregation professing to have Christ as her head? What is the right goal for each of her members? What should be the aim of all the things done in the meetings of such a congregation?

Paul expressed his goal for the congregation of baptized believers whom he had organized in the city of Corinth. He wrote: “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ,” (2 Corinthians 11:2). In the verse just quoted Paul says that he had married the church in Corinth to Christ: espoused means to give one in marriage. His goal was this: that he could one day present the congregation there in Corinth “as a chaste virgin to Christ.” No doubt this was his goal for the other churches scattered over the Roman Empire as well.

Paul's goal should be the goal of every church and each member individually. Neither individual members nor congregations corporately can be perfect, but each can be chaste: faithfully awaiting the coming of Christ. The Bible likens each congregation to a bride. A bride cannot be perfect, but she can be chaste. She can keep herself pure for her future husband and for the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything done by a church and in her meetings ought to be with the goal of being and remaining a chaste virgin ready to meet the Lord Jesus.

Chastity, purity, holiness as well as truth, zeal for the Lord, love of the truth, love to the Brethren and indeed doing good to all are all a part of the Christian life. But this thing of each church being a chaste (pure) virgin faithfully waiting for Christ the Bridegroom is absolutely necessary. In Hebrews 12:14 it is written: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” A holy life is the mark of a true child of God and ought to be also of the Lord's churches. That is why the Bible teaches that each congregation is to exercise discipline over her members and why members must be of sufficient mature age as to be able to be disciplined by his church.

Paul wrote: “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? [outside the church] do not ye judge them that are within? [in the church] But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person,” (1 Corinthians 15:11-13). Take note of that last sentence! Churches ought not to entertain spiritual goats for the sake of numbers. The goal is for each of the Lord's churches to be as a chaste virgin!

Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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