The church as the body of Christ

Ephesians 1:22b-23: gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

The above is about Christ and especially his relationship with the entity called the church. The church is a spiritual organism which came into existence at the resurrection of Jesus Christ, because, there can no Church without the resurrection of Jesus (1Corinthians 15:12-23).

The church is composed of people who are associated spiritually with Jesus as his body. When he was raised from the death, the spiritual significance of that event was that we were raised with him in a vicarious sense and therefore are called to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4-5, 11). The eternal life that is ours through Jesus Christ was because of the infusion of life that brought him to life, giving him an undying body and with the same stroke, based on the eternal dimension of things, where there is no time consideration, we also moved from a state of deadness to being alive to God not on our own account of ourselves, but on the account of Christ whose body we are.

We “are” the body of Christ, those of us who are linked with him through faith (Ephesians 2:4-8). And it is written that we are part of his bone and part of his flesh (Ephesians 5:29-32). We are the components that made up who he is. Therefore, when Paul was persecuting the church, Jesus told him that it was himself that he was persecuting (Acts 9:1-5).

When the bible says that we are sitting together with Christ in the heavenly places, it is not that there are many chairs there but as Christ sits, we are sitting as his body there (Ephesians 2:6). Our spiritual location is in Christ (Romans 6:11, 23, 8:1-2, 16:3, 1Corinthians 1:2, 15:22, 2Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 3:14, Ephesians 2:13, Philippians 4:21, 2Timothy 1:9).

We are sited with Christ in the heavenly places far above principalities and power. We gained the identity of Christ himself in the realm of the Spirit. “In Christ” is one the adjectives used in the bible to show our new status in Him.

The life of God that we now have is because we “are” the body of Christ. Our relationship with God is defined based on our being the body of Christ.

From the foregoing, it is clear that our being the body of Christ describes our new position and new life in Christ.

But not only that; there is also the idea of the relationship of the parts of the body with one another; we “are” the body of Christ as a whole but individually we are parts of that body. In biblical discuss, this dovetails into the topic of unity of the body of Christ and the specific roles that the component parts has to benefit others.

The new position we are in now is “in Christ,” in the Anointed One. And there is nowhere in the bible where there is the phrase “body of Jesus” as being descriptive of the church, it is always the “body of Christ (Romans 12:5, 1Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 4:12).” That is not by chance.

Christ means the Anointed One, with particular reference to the endowment (anointing) with the Holy Spirit. Of Jesus, it was said, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power and he went about doing good, and healing those who are oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38).

Also as his body, we express his mind; that is why the bible says that we have the mind of Christ (1Corinthians 2:16) and we express the thoughts and intents of his heart. That anointing expresses his thoughts, as it is written, we have an anointing from the Holy One (1John 2:27-28), (all Christians that is and not just the big shots) and we know all things. From the same anointing we also move with his power. That is why Jesus Christ said that if we lay hands on the sick, they will recover; we would speak in unknown tongues and cast out devils (Mark 16:17-18). That is why you cannot receive the baptism if you are not born again, which is evidenced by speaking in tongues (Acts 19:1-7).

We are joint heirs with Christ. Whatever he has is ours, because we are his body. Our wills are bound to his. That is why Paul describes himself as a bond servant of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1, Philippians 1:1). Our emotions are also His. Look at the fruit(s) of the Spirit, a number of them have emotional qualities/content/value/feel (Galatians 5:22-25).

Also we are one spirit with him (1Corinthians 6:13-20); our oneness with Christ is something that is beyond human comprehension. That is why fornication and adultery is specifically frowned against by God. It is a direct affront on the oneness charter that we have with Christ.

Paul said that sexual impropriety is wrong because since we joined to Christ as his body, it is wrong to in sexual relation join the body of Christ with that of a harlot.

Our being one with Christ is the core of our being. We are alive in the spirit because he is alive. Everything we have and everything we are, is because we are joined to him.

Writing to the Ephesians, Paul said that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly realm “in” Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3). So that in the ages to come God can show the riches of his grace to us “in” Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:1-10).

That is why, many times, the writers of the epistles speak of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, being with us (Hebrews 13:25, 2Thessalonians 3:18). That is the divine ability. We are strengthened by the grace (Hebrews 13:9, 2Timothy 2:1) that comes from our union with Christ. Remember, he is full of it. He is also full of truth (John 1:14, 16). We gain access to to the two because we are his body.

The teachings of spiritual gifts in the bible are described with the picture of the body in mind (Romans 12:3-10, Ephesians 4:1-16, 1Corinthians 12:1-31). Every part is vital; every part is there for a reason and has something to offer the rest of the body. There is no allowance for idleness.

We are to take the grace we have been given and apply it, making use of it to be a blessing to others. Whatever the expressions of the gifts are; they should have the undertone of oneness of the body.

The fact that we are the body of Christ also means we should not allow division, rancour, murmuring, we should endeavour to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bound of peace (Ephesians 4:2-6), being at peace with each other.

Paul once asked the Corinthians: is Christ divided (1Corinthians 1:9-13)? Because some of them were saying they are for Paul, another group said they for Apollo, and there was dissension among them.

From the focus verse, the church represents the fullness of Christ. And the intention of God is that through the church the wisdom of God will be displayed to principality and powers (Ephesians 3:8-12). The unity of the body of Christ is very important as the anointing flows based on that (Psalm 133:1-3, James 3:14-18).

Therefore a church, a group of believers, should measure itself by how much it expresses the fullness of Christ, not so much how the budget is balanced (it should), not how the various segments of the church have a programme that fits it. It should be all about Jesus, expressing his glory, power and his person.

As the body of Christ “we” are the revelation of who Christ his, and what he can do. We are the extension of his loving hands to the needy, the expression of the compassionate gospel to the lost.

As the body of Christ we should express the manifold dimensions of the destiny that is on him when he read from the book of Isaiah at the beginning of his ministry, that the Spirit of the Lord is upon him, because he is anointed to preach the gospel, heal the blind, heal the brokenhearted etc., as his body (Luke 4:15-21).

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2 responses to “The church as the body of Christ

  1. What an interesting concept.”In Christ” and the “the body of Christ”. I have read the Bible a couple of times and have never made that connection. I am a converted Catholic who now attends Assembly of God church. Whether I am truly part of the body of Christ or some other glorious place I am eagerly awaiting the day that I can be with my Lord. Very well written and I enjoyed the post. Got me thinking!

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