The Body of Christ

By C. Eldon McNabb

"[Jesus] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." "Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." (Eph. 4:11-13 &1 Cor. 12:27)

Most Christians believe they are part of the Body of Christ. Some even erroneously say that they are members of "the Body of Jesus Christ." (That obviously cannot be true, since he ascended in that body, and shall also return in it.)

However, the Apostle Paul clearly defined his use of the term in Ephesians 4 and 1st Corinthians 12. It is the Church of God that is the Body of Christ, but on what basis can we justifiably use this term to describe ourselves? The term "The Body of Christ" surely implies some design. It is an organization built according to the pattern which God gave to Moses, which pattern Jesus also used in establishing His Church.

When Adam said of Eve, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh," he meant that she was human, just like him. However, when Paul said, "We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones," he didnít mean that the Body of Christ was a human. He meant that it was a group of people who were formed in the image or our Lord, both spiritually and numerically.

Paul told the Church at Ephesus, "In Him all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord." And again he said, "From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love" (Eph. 2:21 and 4:16).

The Body of Christ is not some indescribable category of people expressed in a menagerie of sundry sects, but rather, it is a tightly knit group of people built upon the revelation of Jesus Christ, and formed according to the pattern which was revealed unto Moses in the Mount. It is a group of people who love each other and work for each otherís good, as they go about their "work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, [their] election of God" (1 Thess. 1:3,4).

The Body of Christ is a group of people who are seeking God for that "pure language," which God has promised them (Zeph. 3:9). That pure language is the preaching and teaching of Godís word, rightly divided. The Body of Christ must come in "the unity of the faith, and (in the unity) of the knowledge of the Son of God," and worship God together in truth. The precious words of Jesus, O so true: "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him."

The fulness of that is not quite here yet, but the promise is sure, and we are pressing toward that mark.