The Holiness of the Ekklesia


by Mike Ratliff

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.  (1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV)

The Church is not a building. No, in the New Testament, written in Koine Greek, our English translations of it where we find the the word “church,” it is a translation of  a form of εκκλησια or “ekklesia.” For example, in Acts 5:11, “καὶ ἐγένετο φόβος μέγας ἐφ’ ὅλην τὴν ἐκκλησίαν καὶ ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς ἀκούοντας ταῦτα,” which the ESV translates as, “And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things,” contains ἐκκλησίαν or “ekklēsian,” which is the accusative, singular, feminine case of εκκλησια. All that means is that ἐκκλησίαν is the direct object of the main verb in that sentence. However notice that there is just one εκκλησια. “This word literally means, “the called out ones.” It’s usage in scripture denotes the New Testament community of the redeemed in a two-fold aspect, the first referring to all those called by and to Christ in the fellowship of His salvation, which is the “Church” worldwide at all times. The second aspect, rarely used, refers to a local body of believers.

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