His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)
We can very readily get stuck into the church for all its faults and failings. It is an easy target. Those of us who have been around churches of various sorts for years are in no doubt as to its shortcomings.
And yet, God still wants to use the church as the instrument by which the good news of Jesus is spread. Even the angelic beings are supposed to be convinced of God’s plan of salvation by the witness of the church.
So why is the church so often “on the nose”? Partly because darkness hates the light and the good news of Jesus is not always good news to those who want to go their own way. But partly because over the centuries and even into the present day, the church has sought to witness to the world from a position of strength and power.
It needs instead to recognise its vulnerability, its fallibility. We don’t have all the answers. We are not always right. We do not always live out what we believe. We are not morally superior. We cannot always speak with one voice: we are a mixed bunch.
An apparently powerless church can wield great spiritual power, as can be seen in the early church. A church which doesn’t claim to have all the solutions to all the problems, or all the answers to all the questions, can have a great impact on a society which is utterly fed up with slick marketers who promise a quick fix.
If we are to proclaim the great mercies of God to a needy world, we first need to recognise our great need of such mercies