This Wednesday marks the minor festival of the confession of St. Peter. The weekly address features author Herman Goekel in his devotional book “Daily walk with God.” And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overpower it. Matthew 16:18
We are living in days where our hearts may fail us for fear, and for looking after those things that are happening to the organized church. “Will the church survive?” we ask.
That all depends upon whose church we mean. Notice the pronouns Christ uses in the above passage. I will build my church,” he says. And against His church “the gates of hell will not overpower it.”
It is not really we who are building the church. It is Christ, working through his Holy Spirit, according to his promise. And he is building his church on the sure foundation of Simon Peter’s confession: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) It is on the rock-solid Word of God that he said he would build and preserve his church.
There is, of course, the constant temptation to equate the church with various types of human bureaucracies, with statistics, boards, committees, handbooks, even bankbooks – none of which in themselves are wrong, but none of which dare ever be confused with the church itself. The church is believers – believers down through the ages. To them has been given the promise of ultimate victory.
We may lament the passing of old and familiar customs, and our hearts may be saddened by the tearing down of scaffolding which we had mistaken for the church. But let us take heart. Christ will build his church. The church is his. No power in earth or hell can stop its progress. Until the end of time people will continue to hear the glorious confession of Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Prayer: Stanzas 1&5 of The Church’s One Foundation The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord; She is his new creation by water and the Word. From heav'n he came and sought her to be his holy bride; With his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died. ‘Mid toil and tribulation and tumult of her war She waits the comsummation of peace forevermore. ‘Till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blest, And the great Church victorious shall be the Church at rest.