The Church as the Body of Christ – Which Means What?
The church of the New Testament is in the scriptures referred to under severaldifferent designations or appellations one of which is the body of Christ. “And heput all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church,which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” (Eph. 1:22-23 NKJV) “I nowrejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in theafflictions of Christ, for the sake of his body, which is the church.” (Col. 1:24 NKJV)Paul says, in speaking to the church (see 1 Cor. 1:2) at Corinth, “Now you are thebody of Christ, and members individually.” (1 Cor. 12:27 NKJV) To those in Rome hesays, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of oneanother.” (Rom. 12:5 NKJV) The body of Christ, the church, is of course a spiritual body. Peter describes thechurch as a building but what he says is applicable here for he says, “you also, asliving stones, are being built up a spiritual house.” (1 Peter 2:5 NKJV) The church isspiritual made up of men and women and boys and girls of accountable age whoeach in their individual spirits have submitted to Christ in both faith and obedience.“You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.”(Rom. 8:9 NKJV) “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:14 NKJV) “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body (thefleshly physical body we each possess – DS), you will live.” (Rom. 8:13 NKJV) It isthus spiritual beings, having the Spirit of Christ within them, who make up thechurch, the body of Christ.In the description the Holy Spirit gives of the church as a spiritual body, the body of Christ, it is compared to a physical body in order to provide us with some lessons of its nature and what it is to be. He (the Holy Spirit) says, speaking through Paul, “forin fact the body is not one member but many” (1 Cor. 12:14 NKJV) and then beginsdiscussing the foot, the hand, the ear, the eye, the smelling (the nose) with the ideabeing that each member of the body has its function to fulfill for the profit of theentire body and that each part of the body, each member, contributes to the wellbeing of the body and is needed. (1 Cor. 12:15-22) With the physical body wereadily see this need. Remove any part of the body and to that extent we becomehandicapped. This is a lesson the church needs to learn – the value of every single member andthe fact they each contribute in one way or another whether we see it or not. Toooften the member that has standing is the one with speaking talent, or the one whois a church leader in one capacity or another, or one who is well thought of in thecommunity while the poor widow with but two mites to cast into the collection plate(Luke 21:1-4) is left out of the social interaction of the membership. The churchthat is what God would have it to be is egalitarian. Too often the church is dividedinto cliques based on social/economic status or perceived superiority. This is