Adapted from Handbook to Spiritual Growth
FOUNDATIONS FOR COMMUNITY
Since God made us in His image and likeness, we have been created for community with Him and with one another. As we enter into the benefits of the new covenant through the blood of Christ (Jeremiah 31:31–33; Luke 22:20), we become members of a new community that is called to reflect the glory of the Godhead in its corporate unity (John 17:22–26). The two greatest commandments are to love God and our neighbor (Mark 12:30–31), and the clearest expression of our love for God is our love for others (1 John 4:7, 11, 20–21). In effect, our Lord tells us, “If you love Me, you will love the people I love.”
The devastating consequence of the fall in Genesis 3 was the fourfold alienation from God, ourselves, others, and nature. For those in Christ, a significant healing has begun on each of these levels, but it will not be complete until the redemption of our body and the redemption of the created order (Romans 8:19–23). God’s redemptive plan is to restore relationships on every level—with God, self, others, and creation—so that we will experience and express the shalom (peace, love, unity, harmony) of the Trinity.