Corporate Obedience

There are only five documents in the New Testament explicitly addressed to individuals (Luke, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon). The remaining 22 documents are clearly written for various communities. More often than not the pronoun “you” is in the plural in these documents. These documents are unified in their purpose to exalt the crucified and risen Christ, foster the faith of the church, and secure the loyal obedience of his chosen people. Obedience, faith, growth, and maturity are all found in a communal context in the New Testament. Individual obedience is possible and meaningful only when it is located in the realm of community. Ephesians 4:11-16 is a key text in this regard. Read it and notice how the language of obedience, growing, and maturing are all set squarely within the context of the church. The question is not only, am I obedient? Are we obedient?

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