The Church as the Body of Christ

By Nathan Anderson

There are no lone rangers in God’s Kingdom. God’s design from the beginning was to have people in community. He saw Adam and said, “It’s not good that the man should be alone!” (Genesis 2:18)

Throughout biblical history, this pattern continues. God called Moses to lead the nation with God’s Word, and instructed Moses to appoint elders to lead His people (Exodus 18:17-26). Prophets would proclaim God’s Word, priests would serve God, and an appointed leader, the Davidic King, would come forward as the national head (1 Samuel 16:1-13).

In the New Testament, the appointed leader of God’s people is Christ, the head of the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23). All believers are called to be priests and prophets (1 Peter 2:9; Acts 2:17). All believers serve Christ (not just a priestly class) and all now proclaim the Gospel to a fallen world (Matthew 28:19-20). Yet still, elders are the ones who shepherd God’s people and are called to teach the Word of God to the body (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).

The Church is Christ’s bride (Revelation 19:7-9). He holds her in honour. He guards her jealously. He even sacrificially died for her (Ephesians 5:25-27). He will bless her. Through her, the great mission of God is fulfilled. Through her, the ministry of Christ continues. To be apart from her is to miss out on a great blessing from God. Are we loving and honouring the bride for whom Christ died? Are we playing our part in the Church? Do we show our devotion to the bride of Christ by praying for our Church? As we can see, there is no room for lone rangers. The Bible teaches us not to forsake the gathering together (Hebrews 10:25).

The Church isn’t only the bride but also the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). His body is the means by which the mission of God and the ministry of Christ continue. All parts and gifts are essential. Not merely helpful but necessary. Paul discusses how in our body we have different organs for diverse functions. Those functions are all necessary. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you!” To do so would leave the body horribly disfigured and disabled (1 Corinthians 12:12-26). The body of Christ is likewise filled with different personalities, roles, experiences, and gifts. All are necessary to provide healthy function.

It’s tough in church life and ministry life when people do things differently. They don’t think like you nor act like you think they should! You would get along if only they were a bit more like you! We must recognise that diverse people have different approaches. This poses challenges but also opportunities. Someone of a quieter disposition often is a better listener but may freeze on stage. Extroverts can be great fun at a party but can’t always be bothered with reading. Where you are strong, other parts of the body are weak, and vice versa. Together, the ministry can advance where it would stall if you were alone!

The glorious doctrine of the Church richly warms our hearts, but it is often difficult to practice. Working with fallen people requires commitment, understanding, repentance, and forgiveness. We need His grace! Thank God He shows that to us (2 Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 2:8-9).


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