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How Is the Church Christ’s Body?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Authority and the Church, Part 2

by Erik Lutz on January 24, 2011
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Erik Lutz, AiG–U.S., explains why true believers in Christ are considered part of His body.

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. (1 Corinthians 12:12–14)

Today’s big question: how is the church Christ’s body?

In the verses preceding today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul wrote to believers in Corinth about various spiritual gifts and ministries within the church: “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord” (1 Corinthians 12:4–5). Although there are millions of Christians across the world with different abilities and gifts, there is ultimately just one church under Christ.

For many people, the word “church” brings to mind images of a building with stained-glass windows and a steeple. However, according to Scripture, the church is not a physical building—it is the people. The Greek word ekklesia (usually translated “church”) literally means “the called out ones” and it refers to an “assembly” or “congregation.” In many cases this word refers to a local congregation of believers in a certain area, but ekklesia can also encompass all those around the world who have been saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. They are unified in Christ.

To better illustrate this concept, Paul uses the analogy of a human body. We saw in the last devotional that Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, which is His body (Colossians 1:18). As Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers, “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually” (1 Corinthians 12:27, emphasis added). Your physical body is a collection of many different parts and organs, each with a unique function and purpose. In the same way, the spiritual body of Christ is made up of individual believers with different gifts and abilities.

In the sight of God, no member of Christ’s body is any “better” or “worse” than another member. Each one has an appointed position and task because “God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased” (1 Corinthians 12:18).

Although Christians are scattered over many nations, languages, and cultures, the one unifying factor for the whole church of God is Jesus Christ, our Head. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). This is the church.

Today’s big idea: just as the human body is one unit with many parts, so is the church of Jesus Christ.

What to pray: praise God for redeeming His church and bringing us together under Christ, our Head.

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