Friday, February 20, 2009

Church, the body of Christ Jesus

Jesus is the head of His church which is called both Christ’s bride and body. I’m writing this because we often negate this truth in our individual walk in the Christian life. Perhaps from a lack of understanding this mystery or maybe something else, but regardless of the reason, I have found myself on both sides and wanted to commit to paper what my mind tends to forget on the subject.

I begin by reiterating something I often overlooked in some of the letters by the Apostle Paul. Can the hand, arm or any other part of the physical body function without instruction or command from its head/brain? Similarly we, who believing in Jesus are born again and grafted spiritually into His body, must be obedient to His living word in us. For without His instruction, authority, and Spirit working through us and with us we can do nothing and are as dead. Can your hands, eyes, or body express love, an action, or emotion apart from the brain telling them what to do or how to do it? We all know that a body without a head is a corpse and useless. So we, when we were without Christ, were dead and useless, being fully unable to walk by His Spirit and bear the very evident actions of true life. A body might appear to still have life without its head. Somewhat like a chickens body can run around impulsively after losing its head to a chopping block, but in time the ultimate result is unmistakable...death. The good news is that through Christ Jesus we have new life. A life that is true and everlasting, for we are now a part of Christ’s eternal body. If we are His body, then, we can do nothing apart from Him, insomuch as He is the head. In contrast to that everything He empowers us to do, we can do, as we are now one with Him by faith. Now the body needs in it blood to supply, repair, heal, protect against disease etc. So we the Church can do nothing apart from His Holy Spirit’s presence in us. He graciously gives the body/church life and the abilities (gifts) it needs to function and live as more than a cold heap of flesh and bones. It is His Spirit that softens and warms our hearts. (It should be noted here that the abilities and gifts of His Spirit are not suddenly subject to our human or fleshly whims. They are subject to Christ`s will working in us. By faith, via His gifts, we act and carry out Christ`s will in the body (church) for the common good of one another, to the glory of Christ Jesus and God our Father. If certain gifts aren`t evident in the church, chances are that the body is: Not putting Christ Jesus first, struggling with faithlessness, or perhaps, those gifts may not be needed to fulfill Christ`s will at that given time. That said, the fruits of the Spirit of Christ should always remain evident, though all the gifts disappear. His word says there remains faith, hope, and love.)

The principle here is that apart from Christ Jesus’ Spirit working in and through His church it cannot function or bear the fruits of life and of His Spirit. The human body without a head and blood is functionless and dead. We the people of the Church, through faith and so Christ’s body, must look to Him in all we do, for apart from Him we can do nothing. If He tells us to love and obey we do so with the ability Christ as our head provides. Here’s a simple example: No one could get away with saying “My body acts on its own so don`t hold me accountable.” But rather we know that their brain, mind (will) and spirit control their body, telling it what to do. I write this knowing that we are individuals and as individuals try to act alone, but now by His grace we can be united and be one together with each other and His Spirit, acting together for the greater good of the church.

So what then?

1. Abide in Jesus and He will live in and through you. Apart from Him we are dead, but in Him is eternal life.

2. The body/church can do whatever the head (Jesus the Christ) tells it to do. Whether that be to “Love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind and love our neighbour as our self.” Or to perform great signs and wonders in His name. All things are possible in Christ because, simply put, it is not we who do these things but His Spirit working through us teaching us to be in His likeness. We see then the principle that He is both our willing and doing as we abide in Him. That is why we pray “Our Father in heaven Hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Because it is God who by His grace works these things in His body the church.

3. 1 Timothy 1:5 “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Love is Christ`s ultimate work in us, as part of His body He will love though us and teach us to love.

4. Trust Jesus! Do not fret if you cannot perform every day some amazing sign for your own edification or what you think is good. Christ will work through His body so be faithful to keep on praying and persevering and acting according to the faith He has given you. Godliness with contentment is great gain. Therefore rejoice that your name is written in the lambs book of life and don`t chase after fleshly hopes and desires. Trust that He works all things to the good of those who love Him. Be confident that the work of Christ Jesus is being done in and through you according to His will and faithfulness as you abide in Him and so are a part of His body.

5. That said His gifts are amazing, don`t doubt but believe and act for He is faithful. Humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God and He WILL exalt you in His time. Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you!

6. Rejoice!


Danielle said...

Thanks for this post! I just wrote my own post on the same topic, though what I wrote is more of a personal reflection. I am reading a book called Practical Theology for Women, and the section regarding our role as a member of the body of Christ is so powerful. I know it's a book for women, but I highly recommend checking out the chapter if there's a way you can get your hands on the book! It really summarizes a lot of the points you wrote about in your blog.

gospeloflove said...

Thanks for the comment! It's encouraging for me to see that the Lord is using this to bless others too.