We Are His Body Parts
March 5, 2011
Christ’s body is the church (1 Cor. 12:12-14), for “you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (v. 27) God considers each “born of the Spirit” (John 3:8) believer to be a temple in which He dwells (1 Cor. 3:16); but corporately, the church also is one body –the bride of Christ (John 3:29 & Rev. 21:2,9 & 22:17), as well as Christ’s own body. For “In Him the whole [spiritual] building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” (Eph. 2:21,22)
Now if we are one body (Christ’s body), then we need each other. (1 Cor. 12:21) We “do not all have the same function” (Rom. 12:4), and thus for Christ’s kingdom to advance, we need to cooperate with the rest of the body. “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts… prophesying… serving… teaching… encouraging… contributing to the needs of others… leadership… showing mercy…” (v. 5-8) For “it was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, [for what purpose?] to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity…” (Eph. 4:11-13) Unity in what? Two things: “in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God.” (v. 13 also) And this, so that we will “become mature.” Which means “attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (v. 13 also) This is the goal. And it equates to being conformed to the likeness of Christ (Rom. 8:29) –that is, Christ-likeness in character, thought, word, and deed. However, this goal is often derailed. Why? Because the derailing begins way back with the body parts who are supposed to be functioning for the purpose of preparing others for works of service –so that others too may function as the body part God assigned for them.
The problem is that many are absolutely not cooperating. Jer. 48:10 warns, “A curse on him who is lax in doing the LORD’s work!” But unfortunately, when parts of the body grow disobedient, they are closing themselves off from the cleansing flow of the Vine (Jesus –see John 15:1,3) and they will soon be cut off and thrown away. (v. 2,6) Just as the father considered the prodigal son “dead and… lost” (Luke 15:24,32), God will consider “dead and lost” anyone who continues to live in rebellion and sin. There is a time frame of God’s patience (2 Peter 3:9), but eventually, if the rebel continues to delay turning back to God in genuine repentance, “such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” (John 15:6)
So, if we have in the church body many individuals who are lax in doing the Lord’s work, what kind of body do we have? We have a handicapped body. There are parts which are still attached, but they won’t do anything except sit with their mouths open, saying, “Feed me. I’m so tired and stressed. I’m working to get healed, but I still need more food.” However, they’ve been saying this for years. And the only work they are doing is walking to the restaurant (church and seminars and concerts) pretending that that is their service to Christ. Oh, they acknowledge that they need to be producing fruit, but years have gone by and they are still saying, “Tomorrow… or next week I’ll start buckling down so as to produce fruit. Right now, see, I’m just in this season…” So the body as a whole continues to limp along, dragging the dead weight, appearing to the world like a deformed weak parasite. All the while, though, the righteous body parts weary themselves out working overtime, trying to pick up the slack, trying to function as body parts they were not called by God to be.
Besides all this chaos, there are potential parts of the body who have been called by God, but because of unbelief and refusal to come to Christ’s invitation in the first place (Matt. 22:3), Christ’s body is left without the part altogether. In other words, God looked for someone to be the eye, the tongue, the hand, the toe… “who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” (Ezek. 22:30) Even those He commands to be watchmen often refuse their duty. (3:17-19) They refuse God’s call, or a particular assignment, and so the body goes around with missing body parts. Often a fake body part is then forcibly attached instead. This causes even more destruction to the advancement of God’s kingdom, for they do their work from another power (worldly or demonic) and try to steer the Body away from the Truth and from serving God’s will –consequently promoting false doctrines and serving only the enemy’s purposes.
So whether Christ’s body (the bride of Christ) has missing body parts, fake body parts, or has body parts that are still attached but are lukewarm and nearly dead (Rev. 3:15-19), the Body as a whole is seen by the world as feeble and incapable. And while this lost world continues its rush toward Hell, Christ’s body parts waste valuable time as they continue to argue, continue to hang on in their sickly condition, and continue to refuse coming to whole-hearted repentance. No wonder 1 Peter 4:17 says that “it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God.”
However, we should be thankful for God’s judgment which is still only chastisement, for “When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.” (1 Cor. 11:32) And better yet… “But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.” (v. 31) Let us then examine ourselves carefully and honestly and judge whether or not we are lax in doing the will of the Lord –that function within the Body that He has assigned to each one of us. And if we find we come up short, let us repent with contrite hearts, and then stand at attention, ready to immediately start walking in obedience to Christ.