Concerning The Body Of Christ

Concerning The Body Of Christ

Paul's letter to the Ephesian Christians is centered around the great truth of believers being one Body in Christ. Christ is the Head of the Church, and the Church is His Body (Ephesians 1:22,23). Each believer is a member of this Body. This is not just a fact to be acknowledged intellectually but one that should affect our daily life.

The first half of the letter to the Ephesians deals with the doctrine of the Body of Christ. The second half of the letter deals with the practical outworking of the doctrine of the Body of Christ. And this is how the second half begins: "therefore, …walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called, With all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity. Careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. One body and one Spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling." (Ephesians 4:1-4). In other words, once a person has understood and "seen" this truth of the Church being the Body of Christ, he should long to walk in humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, love, unity and peace with his fellow-believers.

When a Christian does not walk like that, it indicates that he hasn't seen the Body of Christ. Such a person needs to go back to the first three chapters of Ephesians and say, "Lord, I'm blind to something here. Please teach me. Please open my eyes." For the truth of "the Body" is not one that we can grasp merely with our intellects. As Paul says, the eyes of our heart need to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit, if we are to know (Ephesians 1:18,22,23).

To the church in Corinth, Paul wrote, "you are the body of Christ, and members in particular." (1 Corinthians 12:27). True, the Christians in Corinth in the first century were only a small part of the worldwide, past, present and future group of believers that constitute the Body of Christ; but they were nevertheless to be a local expression of that Body in Corinth. This is the calling of every group of believers in every age and in every place. It is God's intention that every Parish, every conclave, every archdiocese, every bishop conference, every college of Cardinals, and every episcopal be a visible expression to the world of the Body of Christ.

When Jesus Christ came to earth, He came in an earthly body. God showed Himself to man through that physical body of Christ. Without a physical body, Christ could not have accomplished what He did, and the world would not have known what God was like. A physical body was essential. Now, consider what limitation there would have been in Christ's ministry on earth, if His body had paralyzed or uncoordinated limbs. If, for example, His legs, arms or tongue had been paralyzed, He could not have walked to the homes of sinners, or put His arms around lepers, or spoken the words of life. He could do all these and more, only because He had a strong, healthy body.

When Christ ascended to heaven, God gave Him another Body on earth to carry on His work - a Body of believers redeemed by His blood out of every nation and tribe and language. This Body of believers, indwelt by the same Holy Spirit Who dwelt in Christ on earth, was to continue the ministry which Christ, using His physical body, had begun. This is the calling of the Church.

Do you see why Christ is limited on earth now? His new Body (the Church) has limbs and organs that are either paralyzed through sin or uncoordinated through disunity.

Satan cannot attack the physical body of Christ today, but he can and does attack Christ's new Body. Satan (unlike many believers) realizes that Christ's work on earth can be limited by non-functioning or non-cooperating members in the Church.

How desperately we need to pray for spiritual vision concerning the Body of Christ. It is indeed one of the greatest needs of the day. May God help us to see Christ as Head over His Body and each of us as members in it. Such a vision alone can make the Church triumphant.