The Body of Christ: Part II
The first article of this series explains the mystery of the Body of Christ and how God hid this secret throughout the history of the world. He then revealed His secret to one person, the Apostle Paul, after God’s chosen nation, Israel, had rejected Jesus as their Messiah. This article will delineate the anatomy of this wonderful creation and explain its function in a wicked world currently ruled by Satan.
The Body of Christ is comprised of Jewish and Gentile believers who have come to faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior. The Holy Spirit baptizes each new believer into the Body of Christ. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13).
Paul explains in Ephesians 1:13-14 the Holy Spirit seals and secures each believer in the Body of Christ with a future view of God redeeming His possession in full as the Body of Christ is one day glorified.
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
All humans are born into sin and, therefore, enemies of a holy God, who knows no sin. Sin separates all humans from God. God’s law makes evident the sin of every man. Ephesians 2: 13-16 describes how God broke down this dividing wall by the blood of Christ—the eternal payment for human sin. This gift is only good for believers who embrace it. The blood of Jesus draws each believer near to God, abolishing the enmity with Him. The Law could never make peace between God and sinful man. It only made obvious the stain of sin in the life of each person. But the blood of an unblemished, sinless Lamb—God’s Son—became the satisfactory payment for sin in the heart of each believer.
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by having put to death the enmity.
God created the human body to function as a unit. It functions as one entity. All its parts serve the whole. The human body is actually a type—a picture—of God’s greater creation, Christ’s body. All humans are afflicted with sin. Their bodies are corrupt—physically and morally imperfect. They are mortal and will ultimately die of a disease. The world is currently under the control of Satan, so the Body of Christ will not function perfectly on this earth—similar to a human body. The Body of Christ is empowered by the Head, Jesus, who directs activities from His throne at God’s right hand. There is only one Body and God intends that it function with all its parts working in harmony.
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute (1 Cor. 6:15)?
For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many (1 Cor. 12:12-14).
Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues (1 Cor. 12:27-28).
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith, if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness (Rom. 12:4-8).
The above Scriptures reveal that God provides gifts to the individual members of Christ’s Body. The gifts vary, but God intends they all serve the Body. God’s gifts are the functions of each body part. Some of these gifts are delineated above—apostles, prophets, teachers, healers, helpers, administrators, etc. Each function serves the greater Body in a unique fashion. This article will not discuss all God’s gifts—nor the details of their function. That will be left for a future discussion. However, it is important to emphasize that each gift serves the Body, not itself. That is God’s intent.
Satan cannot destroy God’s creation. His goal is to divide it, by attempting to coerce each member to serve himself—not the Body, of which he is but a small part. When the individual serves himself, a disease takes root in the Body of Christ. It becomes sick and cannot effectively minister God’s will in a wicked world. A single cell in the human body may become cancerous and spread to involve the entire organism, ultimately killing it. Doctors may use surgery and chemotherapy to slow its growth. But often cancer claims the victory. The body dies. The Body of Christ has a disease in its members. The disease is sin. If this cancer could prevail, Satan, would push it to destroy the Body of Christ. However, God will not allow this. The Body of Christ and its Head, Jesus, are one and will ultimately be glorified and made spotless, without any blemish. God’s surgery and chemotherapy are curative. The scalpel is the Blood of His only Son. God has designed the Body of Christ to be a doctor in a wicked world—identifying sin and Satan’s work, exposing it, and applying the cure—the blood of Jesus.
Jesus once told Peter at Caesarea Philippi: “upon this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” – Matt 16:18. God will have the victory and He will use the Body of Christ to accomplish it.