Vol.XVIII No.II Pg.2
April 1981

"Unto Him Be Glory... "

Robert F. Turner

The following is part of an article on the "Danger of Private Contributions." "2. I believe Ephesians 3: 21. I believe the best way to glorify God is 'through the church.' 3. We are members of the universal church, but we serve God only in the local congregation." Actually, the ONLY way to glorify God is in Christ" but the writer goes far a-field from that.

In the first place one would be hard pressed to prove that Eph. 3: has reference to the local church. The "one body" "in Christ" of Eph. l: is not a local church but the body of all the elect. In ch. 2 Jews and Gentiles are "one body" "in Christ" and are built upon the true foundation (see Matt. 16:18). Ch. 3 continues the same universal application (v.6) and says "the church" demonstrates to principalities and powers "the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose..." Verse 15 calls it "the whole family in heaven and earth" and leads us to v.21 "Unto Him be glory in the church..." Ch. 4 indicates no change — "one body" with "apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers." In v. 15-16 "the whole body" with Christ as its head, is under consideration.

We give glory to God when, as the servants of Christ we are good parents, servants, masters, in day-to-day affairs of life (ch. 6). Local church activities are not under consideration here-- certainly not only. In 1 Cor. 10:27-31, we learn that our conduct at a feast, and what we eat or refuse to eat, must be "to the glory of God." In fact, "whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him" (Col. 3: 17). The "church" is certainly under consideration, but it is the "called out" (ones) distributively.

In Eph. 3:21 "Unto him be glory in the church..." refers to that one acceptable relationship or realm so often designated "in Christ." In order to be faithful to Christ (i.e., in His "church") one may have to leave a local church. Only the blind and unreasoning would deny this. We are not forgetting or speaking lightly of congregational obligations, but trying to frankly and openly reaffirm a principle all saints should know.

The whole body of God's people is not a functional organization nor does it "act" through local eiders. It is a relationship, or fellowship of individuals with God, each of whom must answer directly to God. Their whole life must be one of service, and although, they do work collectively in local teams, the branch abides in the vine, not in a local church.