‘May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.’ (2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV)
What do John Wayne, Ben Kingsley and Grace Communion International have in common?
Not very much you might think.
Yet there is one thing they all have in common: They have changed their names.
Biblically speaking it’s not unusual for names to be changed. Abram changed to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel and Saul to Paul, just to mention a few.
In these instances God chose new names that reflected some aspect of their new lives in relationship with God.
This is why this church has changed its name in the past, from Radio Church of God to Worldwide Church of God, and why it has now chosen the name, ‘Grace Communion International’.
The old name reflected who we were before; the new name reflects who God is transforming us to be.
Why Grace Communion International?
Perhaps Paul’s great blessing at the end of 2 Corinthians might help?
God relates to us in Christ out of unconditional love and grace. He favours us, saved us, and has made us one with him purely out of grace, divine kindness and generosity.
We are in Christ, to grow in this grace, which is at the heart of the life of God and his kingdom.
We are to think about ourselves before God through his eyes of grace and love.
We are also to grow in the grace of Jesus, empowered by the Spirit, to view others with the same heart of kindness and generous love treating them graciously.
We are called, therefore to be transformed by God’s grace.
The Greek word, ‘koinonia’ means fellowship, partnership, sharing together, or communion. The purpose of God’s grace is to lead us into communion with him and with other people.
We are to participate and share in what Christ is doing, whilst being one body, as we join and partner in his life. All this is bound together by the Holy Spirit.
And finally, Paul says this blessing is for you ‘all’. By God’s grace, we are an international communion; a fellowship that includes all people from all backgrounds and all cultures.
This is just a reflection of God’s grace including all people to be in communion with him through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of his Son.
The mission that God has, and which we participate in, is to bring everyone, internationally, into his communion of grace; to live in his love and peace, in intimate communion and fellowship for ever.
To that end the denomination’s new name reflects our commission and the need to be dependent on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to accomplish it.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all, now and forever.
Have a good week, showing grace, and growing in communion with all people.