Chapter 26 - The Church
THE catholic or universal church is invisible in respect of the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace. It consists of the whole number of the elect who have been, who are being, or who yet shall be gathered into one under Christ who is the church's head. The church is the wife, the body, the fullness of Christ, who 'fills all in all'. Eph. 1:10,22,23; 5:23,27,32; Col. 1:18; Heb. 12:23.
All persons throughout the world who profess to believe the gospel and to render gospel obedience unto God by Christ are, and may be called, visible saints, provided that they do not render void their profession of belief by holding fundamental errors or by living unholy lives; and of such persons all local churches should be composed.Acts 11:26; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:20-22.
The purest churches under heaven are liable to be troubled by mixture and error, and some have so far degenerated as no longer to be churches of Christ at all, but 'synagogues of Satan'. Nevertheless, Christ always has had a kingdom in this world of such as believe in Him and profess His name, and He ever will have such a kingdom to the world's end. Ps. 72:17; 102:28; Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 5; 2 Thess. 2:11,12; Rev. 2; 3; 12:17; 18:2.