|Posted on May 2, 2019 at 11:05 AM|
By describing the church as the “body of Christ” Paul reveals a radically different notion of what it is and how it functions. This metaphor of the body of Christ is immediately and drastically contrasted with our historical and traditional ideas of the church. Rather than seeing it as a religious organization we see the church as a spiritual organism. Rather than thinking of it as a building with programs we see the church as an assembly of people with varying gifts and callings. Rather than drafting servants to sustain and promote the programs the church equips each member to love others like Christ.
As the body of Christ, the primary function of the church is to do what Jesus wants done on this earth as expressed in his new command to love like he does and his commission to make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teach them to do what he leads them to do. In Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 Paul makes it clear that all believers are members of the body of Christ and have been given special abilities or “gifts” to be used to love others and help accomplish the mission. As the head of the body Jesus works through the power of his indwelling Spirit to coordinate the actions of each member according to his plan.
Although it seems much too complicated to even recognize much less understand, we may be assured that Jesus is quite capable of working out his plan through and for the church. It is this assurance Paul prays for in Ephesians 3: 14-21 saying, “For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
The key to this assurance is found in his requests for strength in the inner man, receiving and comprehending the full dimensions of the love of God in Christ, and to experience that love practically and personally in loving others like Christ. In short, our assurance comes from the indwelling Spirit of God bearing witness with our spirits that we are the children of God and empowering us to love others just like Jesus. As members of the body of Christ we may rest assured that Jesus is directing our lives through his indwelling Spirit. It is his plan unfolding in his time by his power for his glory. As always, our response is “faith that works itself out in love”. Lord, what do you want me to do or say to love others like you today?