Paragraph 2. The Church—People of God, Body of Christ,
Temple of the Holy Spirit
“At all times and in every race, anyone who fears God and
does what is right has been acceptable to him. He has, however,
willed to make men holy and save them, not as individuals without
any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a
people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness. He
therefore chose the Israelite race to be his own people and estab-
lished a covenant with it. He gradually instructed this people. . . .
All these things, however, happened as a preparation for and
figure of that new and perfect covenant which was to be ratified in
Christ . . . the New Covenant in his blood; he called together a race
made up of Jews and Gentiles which would be one, not according
to the flesh, but in the Spirit.”
Characteristics of the People of God
The People of God is marked by characteristics that clearly
distinguish it from all other religious, ethnic, political, or cultural
groups found in history:
— It is the People
God is not the property of any one people.
But he acquired a people for himself from those who previously
were not a people: “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy
—One becomes a
of this people not by a physical birth, but
by being “born anew,” a birth “of water and the Spirit,”
by faith in Christ, and Baptism.
— This People has for its Head Jesus the Christ (the anointed, the
Messiah). Because the same anointing, the Holy Spirit, flows from
the head into the body, this is “the messianic people.”
of this people is that of the dignity and freedom of the
sons of God, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit dwells as in a temple.”
is the new commandment to love as Christ loved us.”
This is the “new” law of the Holy Spirit.