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206

Part One

Paragraph 2. The Church—People of God, Body of Christ,

Temple of the Holy Spirit

I.

T

he

C

hurch

—P

eople of

G

od

781

“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.”

201

Characteristics of the People of God

782

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

of God:

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

nation.”

202

—One becomes a

member

of this people not by a physical birth, but

by being “born anew,” a birth “of water and the Spirit,”

203

that is,

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.”

— “The

status

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.”

— “Its

law

is the new commandment to love as Christ loved us.”

204

This is the “new” law of the Holy Spirit.

205

201

LG

9; cf.

Acts

10:35;

1 Cor

11:25.

202

1 Pet

2:9.

203

Jn

3:3-5.

204 Cf.

Jn

13:34.

205

Rom

8:2;

Gal

5:25.

871

2787

1267

695

1741

1972