THE CHURCH, WHICH IS HIS BODY
This is a simple statement, but it reveals a wondrous mystery. The Church is the body of Christ. How precious and beautiful is the thought that every believer-every truly converted soul-is a living member of the living mystical Body of Christ, and precious to Him as the apple of His eye. Being baptised or planted into Christ, we are made partakers of His Divine nature, and so become heirs of that eternal life. As members of His body we are part of Himself. This metaphor is very suggestive.
I. The Church, as His Body, is the Visible Proof of His Presence. I cannot see your spirit; you cannot see mine; but our bodies are alike visible. The presence of a living body is the evidence of the presence of a living invisible spirit. The world cannot see the invisible Christ who dwells in His Body the Church, but it can see the body. It can see you and me. Does Christ so live in us that our lives evidence the presence and power of an unseen Saviour? Every Jew is a proof that Abraham lived. Every Christian is a witness to the living Christ, as surely as a living hand proves a living head (Eph_5:23-30).
II. As His Body, the Church is Animated by a Divine Spirit. "You hath He quickened." The life is God-given. It is His own life. Because "I live ye shall live also." It is God who dwelleth in you. In every living human body there is a human spirit. The Church of Christ is a Divine body and is indwelt by a Divine spirit. Every branch in the vine must be possessed by the life-sap of the vine. Do we realise that as members of His body the source and power of our life is in Him alone? Just as the hand is dependent on the head, and waits the energising of the will, so our spirits depend on Christ, our Head, and are animated by His Spirit (1Co_6:17; Eph_4:4).
III. As His Body, its Members are all One. The head controls every member of the body, and each member is connected with each other because of its connection with the head. As members of Christ, we are members one of another, and should have the same care one for another (1Co_12:25). There are different functions for the members, but there are in the sight of Christ, the Head, no divisions-"all one in Christ." Oh, that, as individual members, we may live and work under the power of this soul-raising truth-in honour preferring one another (Rom_12:5; Col_1:18).
IV. As His Body, each Member is Dependent upon the Head. Without the head the body would be nothing but a corrupt lifeless corpse. The body exists for the head and not the head for the body. From the head each member receives its authority. Child of God, remember this. If the hand is enabled to perform any cunning workmanship it is because the wisdom of the head has been imparted. He is made of God unto us wisdom (Rom_14:7-8; Eph_2:21-22).
V. As His Body, it is Subject to Suffering. Christ as "the Head once wounded" is now beyond the reach of the smiter; but His body, the Church, is still exposed to scorn and persecution. How sweet to know that the Head is in deepest, closest sympathy with each suffering member. "Inasmuch as ye did it unto these, you did it unto Me." When Saul was persecuting the members of His body, Jesus said to him, "Why persecutest thou Me?" O Christian, bear patiently. If the head, who feels the pang more keenly than the member, complains not, why should the member? These things may be permitted for edification. "Tribulation worketh patience" (2Ti_3:10-12; Mat_19:29; Php_3:8).
VI. As His Body, its Members are His Instruments of Service. The body is the servant of the head; the Church is the servant of Christ. The head has no way of working out its purposes but through the body. So Christ, as the living, thinking Head of His Body, the Church, is pleased to accomplish His will, and work out His gracious purposes through the members of His body. What a privilege! "Workers with Him." "Weapons of righteousness unto God" (Rom_6:13, margin). "Ye are not your own." No; ye are the hands and feet, the eyes and tongue of Christ. It is God who worketh in you, both to will and to do. If every member of His body were fully yielded to His will, what mighty things would be accomplished. Who could withstand Him? (1Co_6:15-20; Rom_12:1).
VII. As His Body, it is Amply Provided for. Bodies are often ruined through thoughtless heads, and sometimes great heads are hindered because of weak and deformed bodies. It is the work of the head to lay up in store for the body. What stores of grace and truth, what powers of sufficiency dwell in Christ for us, as members of His Body. A withered branch is no honour to the vine. A powerless, half-starved Christian is a discredit to Christ. "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." If ye, being evil, know how to feed, protect, and clothe your own bodies, will Jesus Christ your Lord not much more care for His? "O ye of little faith" (Mat_6:32; Php_4:6; Psa_34:9-10).
VIII. As His Body, the Church cannot see Corruption. The Body of Jesus, which was a type of His Church, was abused, bruised, and broken, but it did not see corruption. The Church as His body may be marred and outwardly weak, but is indwelt by the Spirit of God. Just as surely as the Body of Jesus was glorified on the mount of transfiguration, so surely shall His body, the Church, be transformed with resurrection beauty and filled with the glory of God. He, as the Head of the Body, has already ascended. The body, which is still on earth, will likewise one day be "caught up." "We shall not all sleep (die), but we must all be changed. It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (Col_1:21-22; Eph_5:27, Cant. Eph_4:7; Jud_1:24-25).
Autor: James Smith