The Church of Jesus Christ is in fact the body of Christ. It’s not a social club, it’s not simply a religious organisation and it’s far more than a team. This body belongs to Christ and is therefore more complex and diverse that any worldly association, and should not be thought of with worldly values.
The naming of the Church as ‘the Body of Christ’ is greater than a word picture; it’s the identity of the present physical representation of Jesus Christ in this world. It’s as the apostle Paul explained; God brings both Jew and Gentile together “in one body through the cross” (Ephesians 2:16). The atoning work of Christ on the cross of Calvary is that which purchased this body of believers. With Christ’s life being the purchase price, Calvary should be the bulls-eye focus for the body of Christ.
Worldly thinking and Christ’s body
Because worldly minded people have been wrongly empowered to expect, and even demand, that the Church fulfil their desires, the Body of Christ’s unique significance has been grossly depreciated. Rather, “…he (The Father) put all things under his (Christ’s) feet and gave him (Christ) as head over all things to the church, which is his (Christ’s) body, the fullness of him (The Father) who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23).
It is God the Fathers design that as an expression of His infinite supremacy, Christ is to reign supreme over redeemed people who make up His body. Consequently, the Church is all about God, magnifying his supernal beauty through His Son Jesus Christ, in the energy of the Holy Spirit.
God’s intention is “that through the church the manifold (multi-faceted) wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10). All angelic beings, both good and evil, should be able to watch the body of Christ to view the many facets of God’s wisdom on display. The potential for God to be glorified, exalted, and spoken well of, largely depends on the accuracy in which Christ’s body lives out uncompromising biblical beliefs and behaviour. This enormous privilege and responsibility is uniquely gifted to the body of Christ alone.
Now, “because we are members of his body” (Ephesians 5:30), we are to recognise that “in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free...” (1 Corinthians 12:13). Every person, regardless of ethnicity or social standing, is submersed by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ upon personal belief in Jesus’s substitutional death for their sin. Consequently, “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).
The inescapable truth is that believers not only belong to the Lord, they equally belong to each other. Both corporately and individually Christians share oneness of identity and relationship in Christ, and in the body of Christ. Likewise, what should be the obvious love and commitment God’s children have for their Lord, should be equally as obvious for one another.
The apostle Paul, realising the sinful inclinations of selfish people, wrote to the Church in Rome and detailed God’s intended relational behaviour between believers. “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour” (Romans 12:10). “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight” (Romans 12:16).
Today, I encourage you to evaluate your understanding of the body of Christ and how the Lord lives through you for your fellow Christian and God’s glory.