Why We Shouldn’t Neglect to Meet Together
Have you ever thought of this simply stunning statement by God as a reason why we are to gather together in corporate worship?
It is not good that the man should be alone. (Genesis 2:18)
What’s so incredible about this is that God said it before the fall, when Adam’s heart was undimmed by the dark night of sin and he enjoyed unbroken fellowship with his Creator.
What was not good about Adam’s experience? He had unimpeded communion with God. He had no God-shaped hole in his heart. Wouldn’t this have been truer for Adam than Asaph: “there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” (Psalm 73:25)? Wouldn’t this have been truer for Adam than Chris Tomlin: “All of you is more than enough for all of me”?
Was God not enough for Adam?
I think we often simply assume that Adam’s being alone was not good for Adam. By God’s design, that was certainly true. But that wasn’t the only or ultimate thing that was true. Adam’s being alone wasn’t good for God. The ultimate point was not that all of God wasn’t enough for all of Adam. It was that all of Adam wasn’t enough for all of God. One human would not enjoy God as much as many humans together.
The Deeper Joy
Our corporate enjoyment of God is rooted in a great mystery: the Trinity. God is one (Deuteronomy 6:4; James 2:19), but he is three in one (Matthew 28:19). Because of this unfathomable truth we can say, in a sense, that it is “not good” that God should be alone. There are ways that God experiences God more fully and joyfully as three in one than if he were some monochromatic deity.
And in his Trinitarian counsel he said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). This doesn’t mean that he made each of us little trinities. But it does mean that God designed us, in a way unique to humans, that many would become one. There are ways that we experience God more fully and joyfully as many in one than if just one human existed.
We, Though Many, Are One Body
A mystery that the New Testament reveals is that the many-in-one experience of God would be given to those in Christ’s body (Ephesians 5:23). That’s why the Apostle Paul says,
As in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (Romans 12:4–5)
Together, we are Christ’s body! And according to 1 Corinthians 12, each of us has differing roles that are indispensible to the healthy functioning of this body. Through each of us, God is nourishing and growing his body “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).
We, Though Many, Are One Bride
But this mystery just gets more profound! Not only are we Christ’s body, but we are Christ’s bride (Ephesians 5:32).
Adam and Eve fell. The fellowship they began to enjoy with God was broken. But Jesus is the second Adam (Romans 5:15–17), and the church, in that sense, is the second Eve. She is the mother of all the reborn living, and she is the Bride of Christ. And she is we — together!
Ponder this wonder! It is “not good” that God should be alone, not only in the Trinitarian sense, but also in the marriage of Christ to his bride. The three-in-one God and the many-in-one church join in one beautiful holy union, as it were, that allows all of us to experience God more fully and joyfully than if any less of us existed.
“There Am I Among Them”
That’s why we gather as the church this weekend. We are not merely “going to church.” We are participating in the greatest mystery and most wonderful wonder that any individual or group of human beings can ever experience: oneness with the body and bride of Christ who together become one with Christ in God.
There is an enjoyment of God, a “[taste] of the heavenly gift” and a “[sharing] in the Holy Spirit,” and a “[tasting] of the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come” that cannot be experienced apart from the corporate gathering of Jesus’s church (Hebrews 6:4–5; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Colossians 3:15–16). And there is a manifestation of Jesus’s presence that only occurs when this happens:
Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. (Matthew 18:20)
The Bible does instruct us to worship and pray privately (Matthew 6:6). But that will never be the fullest, deepest, most joyful experience of God for us. That is reserved for Christ’s united body, his bride.
That’s the most profound reason we are not to neglect meeting together (Hebrews 10:25). For when it comes to seeing and savoring Jesus Christ to the fullest, it is not good that man should be alone.