This post deals with some important truths from Scripture to which we should give proper attention. In part A, each Scripture quote is followed by some comments intended to provoke you to think on the truth of that Scripture and act accordingly, as the Lord leads. In part B, I give explanatory comments for the “Body of Christ” graphic that follows those comments.
A. Scripture passages and comments
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1 Cor. 12:27, KJV) [“Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.” NASB]
Believers are the body of Christ, and we are “individually members of it.” Every believer is in Christ and is a member of His body. For me to mistreat another believer is to harm a member of His body; to sin against another believer is to sin against Christ! Furthermore, apart from my proper working as an individual part of His body, the proper growth of the entire body for the building up of itself in love will not occur. So then, how should I be living in light of my being an individual member of the body of Christ?
“Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.” (1 Cor. 6:15, KJV) [“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of an harlot? May it never be.” NASB]
My body is a member of Christ. Not only my immaterial man, but also my whole man, including my body, is in Christ! What does that indicate about how I should view my body and what I should do with it?
“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” (Eph. 5:30, KJV) [“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.” NASB]
Christ is nourishing and cherishing His body! Because my body is a member of Christ, what does that indicate about Christ’s activity with regard to my body, and how should that affect what I think about my body and what I do with or to it?
“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7, KJV) [“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” NASB]
That man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart, does not indicate that God therefore does not look in any sense on our outward appearance. Our bodies are members of Christ, and we are to glorify God in them, including by their appearance. What message about Christ and about God are we communicating to men as they look on the outward appearance of our bodies, which are members of Christ?
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 5:23, KJV) [“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” NASB]
Paul prayed for God to sanctify entirely the Thessalonians. He prayed that their whole man, including their bodies, would be “preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” What does it mean for my body to be preserved complete, without blame? What does Paul’s example here indicate about how I should be praying for others (and for myself)?
“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.” (Eph. 4:25, KJV) [“Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH, EACH ONE of you, WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members one of another.” NASB]
All believers are “members one of another.” Because that is true, we should all be speaking truth with each other. The fact that we, including therefore our bodies (see above), are all members one of another indicates what else about how I should be living?
“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” (Romans 12:4, 5, KJV) [“For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” NASB]
In Christ, all believers are “one body.” Not all believers “have the same function,” and each one of us is individually a member of everyone else in the body of Christ! What implications do these truths have for my living? Because we are all one body in Christ, every decision that I make, including decisions about my body, affects the whole body, and it affects every single other believer!
B. “Body of Christ” graphic
I have attempted to create a graphic to help us understand better the significance of the Scripture passages and accompanying comments that I have presented above. Please note that ultimately the truths that I have attempted to portray are beyond human comprehension, which should alert us to keep in mind that the graphic is limited, probably in many ways.
Profiting from the graphic will demand that we seriously contemplate what I have attempted to visualize about the body of Christ. Very likely, there is a better way to portray these truths.