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Theology > Church > History of the Church > Creation of the Church


The Church is created by the Word, the creative Word of God, the Word which is powerful and accomplishes His purpose. It is by His Word that God not only created the material cosmos (Ps. 33:6-9; 148:5; Heb. 11:3; II Pet. 3:5), but also sustains what He created (Heb. 1:3). And it is by His Word that He is creating a people for Himself.

The affirmation and message of the Word is the message and affirmation of the Gospel—the Good News regarding the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and the salvation that His Person and Work accomplished. The Word of the Gospel is a word of information and inspiration, of invitation and initiation, of call and command; it is the Word that speaks and the Word that creates. The Word not only teaches but also transforms by creating life where there is deadness and light where there is darkness—it is through the teaching the transformation appears. God’s Word brings life; see: Ezek. 37:1-14.

Paul writes: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). Within the Gospel is the power, the energy, the accomplishment of God. The Gospel is “the word of faith,” and “the righteousness of faith,” because “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:6, 8, 17; see: vs. 6-17). Through the Word, God informs, convicts, and converts. The Gospel is the Word of Grace in that it communicates life to the individual.

God’s Word teaches and instructs, and through the teaching and instruction it forms or originates spiritual life; it is through the Word that the Spirit brings illumination—the ability to see and then a degree of understanding of what is seen. In other words, Christ is being made real to the believer by the work of the Word in the life. The Holy Scriptures are able to make one “wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim. 3:15; see: I Pet. 1:23-25). “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” (Jas. 1:18).

Through the operation of the Word in the lives of individuals the Church was being created as new believers were joined to those who were already believers. The New Testament informs us that “the word of God spread”:

Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7);

But the word of God grew and multiplied (Acts 12:24);

Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region (Acts 13:48-49);

So the word of God grew mightily and prevailed (Acts 19:20).

God’s Word is God at work, accomplishing His determined will, both at the individual level and at the group level—believers are created and then the believers are joined together, forming the body of Christ.

Through the Word of Christ the Spirit creates faith in Christ, and where this is present, there is the church (Michael Horton, The Christian Faith, 754).

God’s Word cannot be denied or hindered; it is a victorious Word: “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it (Isa. 55:11; “void” is without fruit or effect; see: Isa. 45:22-23).

For it is the God
who commanded light to shine out of darkness,
who has shone in our hearts
to give the
 light of the knowledge of the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ.
II Cor. 4:6

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