The Body of Christ Part III
Ephesians Chapter 4 and the rest of this book delineate how the Body of Christ lives, moves and functions in this world.
Therefore, I the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all (Eph 4:1-6).
Jesus was a very humble, gentle, and patient man and He exercised God’s love in dealing with lost souls. The Head of the Body of Christ sets the example how the rest of the Body should function. Love, humility and patience must be character traits of every Christian. God, most effectively touches hopeless souls when these traits are manifest. Paul implores us to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one Holy Spirit. He is God and He has unified the Body of Christ, placing each new believer into his rightful place in the Body. The bond of peace is the glue connecting all the members into one body. Peace speaks of a relationship with God only believers can attain through faith in the work of Jesus Christ at Calvary. Jesus is Lord of one Body comprised of born again believers in this world. The one hope of our calling is the ‘blessed hope,’ which many New Testament authors have described (Titus 2: 13; 1 Peter 1: 3; 1 John 2: 28-3: 3, etc…). I have explained this in an earlier article. The ‘one baptism’ noted in this Scripture, is not water baptism, as some have taught. This is the baptism of every believer into the Body of Christ—an act of God the Spirit, not performed with human hands. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor 12: 13).
The Body of Christ functions efficiently when each of its members walks in the gift God has granted him. These gifts minister to the members in Christ’s body and even reach out and touch lost souls in this wicked world. They enable the body to mature and reach the fullness of Christ.
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ ( Eph 4:11-13).
Jesus Christ, the Head, fits together and equips each part of the body and directs its function, building it into a mature growing organism.
…we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love (Eph 4:15-16).
God achieves unity in the Body of Christ by allowing each individual member to shed the old nature (lies, anger, bitterness, gossip, immorality, envy, selfishness) and embrace the garment of the regenerated nature.
That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (Eph 4:22-24)
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again, death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom 6:1-11).
This rather long passage explains that as the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the Body of Christ at salvation, He buries our old nature of sin, and permits the new resurrected nature in Christ to arise in our lives. We are exhorted to walk in that new nature, as we are now united with our Head in the Body of Christ, who died to sin once and for all. Jesus lives eternally in the resurrection power of God—His life fully dedicated to God’s plan. We also must consider ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to God.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:1-2).
The word transformed is derived from the Greek work, metamorpheo, which implies a total transformation to a new entity. The equivalent English word, metamorphosis, describes the process of a complete changeover that occurs to a caterpillar in his cocoon. Its body liquefies, then molecules reassemble into a new organism—a butterfly. Metamorphosis is the proper term that also describes the transformation that occurs when God replaces our carnal nature with a ‘new man.’ Unfortunately, the body of flesh continuously tries to reassert itself in our earthly life, but it will completely pass away when our glorious eternal bodies are obtained. God commands us to walk in that new body by faith, thus bringing glory and honor to His Body of Christ and its work in this wicked world.