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jim salladin gafcon

The Rev. Jim Salladin reports on GAFCON 2018

Next to Jesus himself, nothing in this world is capable of greater beauty than the Lord’s church. That is a big claim, but I will stand by it despite the formidable ugliness that often mars the church. Yes despite all her corruptions, it is still true that there is nothing in this world so capable of beauty than the Lord’s Body. It is true because when Christ is her head, then the church comes to life with a life from Jesus himself. That life flows from the Vine to the branches, so that what was dry and dead comes green with the life of God.

It was this life, this beauty, reflected in the church that captivated me so much during Gafcon 2018. It was wonderful and personally compelling to be in Jerusalem, but that was not the source of the beauty I saw. It was wonderful to see friends and meet new ones, and this fellowship is nearer to the point, but still not quite it. The beauty of Gafcon was vested in this: we gathered not just as friends, nor for the sake of an institution we love (or dread), but rather we gathered around the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who was delivered up for our sins and raised for our justification (Rom. 4:25). We gathered to Jesus and drank the living water together. That is the purpose of all creation. All things were created through Jesus and also for Jesus (Col. 1:16), and so when God’s people gather from all over the world honouring Jesus for his grace and glory, we gain a glimpse, a real sight, of the culmination of history when every tribe gathers at the throne to honour the Lamb (Rev. 7:9). Jesus dazzled us, in order to dazzle many others through us in mission. That, I trust, is the meaning of Gafcon.

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