The Corporate Man of Christ
In the former chapters we discussed the fact that God the Father intended, before he created the world, that He would have a family. In and through Christ, he would reconcile everything back to Himself and restore and fulfill His intent for Man and creation. Yet even His disciples had not fully grasped the essence and extent of His will after they were sent to preach the Kingdom of God. We mentioned before that Peter had a hard time with the fact that the Gentiles were also included in God’s promise and would be regarded as the same in Christ with the Jewish people. (Acts. 10)
It was unto Paul that this mystery came to light. He was called to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles:
Eph 2:13-18 [NIV]
13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
The Body of Christ and its Members
In essence, every believer of Christ is born a new man, the last Adam, through whom sin and death is canceled and alienation from God the Father is dismissed. We all become the Body of Christ, or the corporate Man of Christ, with Himself being the Head, we the members.
In a Human Body, the head governs all other parts. All parts or members work together as a whole and healthy body. It would be unthinkable to tell the head not to order the members around, or have each member doing its own thing while a move or task is to be carried out. To pick up a book, we need to think about it with the mind, locate it with our eyes, then use our hand to pick it up. This action becomes such a routine and natural part of our life that we do not marvel at it at all. But the principle and mechanisms utilized in it are intriguing and can’t be fully copied in any other form of life or design.
In the Body of Christ, the Holy Spirit is the Head – the coordinator and the enabler of all members. This means that our personal gifts and roles are to be appropriated by the Head into the benefit of the whole Body, as the eye, the hand would work together to fulfill the task designated by the head in the case above.
Let’s us take a look at some scriptures.
Rom 12:4-8 [NIV]
4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
A body does not grow into full stature at the beginning. It requires a process of growth and maturity for it to do so, while various parts of the Body are used to accomplish diverse tasks to make itself grow, like the planting, harvesting and making of food for ourselves so that we can eat and grow. In things of a spiritual nature, things are a bit different. But the concept is there:
Eph 4:11-16 [NIV]
11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
This is post is _Part 1_ in the series The Body of Christ and our Role in It. To continue with this series, click on Pt 2. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading the explanation of this series.
Photo credit: Vitruvian Woman