Wednesday, November 3, 2010
The Body of Christ
As we hear about the "visible" and "invisible" Church we must be careful not to think in terms of two different entities, but rather one Body with both visible and invisible attributes. The Church is the Body of Christ―Christ Himself is the Head of that Body―and while the Head is invisible; the rest of the Body is visible in this world. Church members are engrafted into the Body of Christ by way of their baptism and are called to "abide in Him." The world cannot see Christ directly but it does see us (Matt. 5:16). Local churches are outposts of the Kingdom of God and our families (and us as individuals), are outposts of the Church. We bear His name and act on His behalf. In serving and loving our neighbors we also serve and love Christ, our Head (Matt. 25:31-46).
True love for Christ is always manifest by true love for His Church (i.e., His Body), and love for Christ is not simply a sentimental feeling toward Jesus but rather the day-to-day service we give to one another (Gal. 6:9-10). Like any healthy body, the Body of Christ demonstrates its health by functioning in harmony for the good of the whole. "Speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love" (Eph. 4:15-16). We are always connected to one another and are either helping or hindering the Body of Christ. Scriptures calls us to love one another, pray for one another, serve one another, weep with one another, rejoice with one another, exhort one another, edify one another, submit to one another, comfort one another, etc. All of this is seen in the real-life visible actions of hospitality, visitation, physical labor, communication, support, participation, sharing, prayer and much more.