Thursday, October 20, 2016

Members of the Body

One of the key values of western society is rugged individualism. But does this really fit in with what the Scripture teaches? Scripture teaches, rather, that Christians are parts of one body and are members of one another (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 4:1-16). The implication of this is that we need one another and every member is important. Also, that the members are different, but they work together to build each other up. That we should feel one another’s joys and sorrows. That we should work together to accomplish God’s purposes on earth. But do we see ourselves this way? Or do we see the church as a place we go to on Sunday or a club we are members of? Now do not get me wrong; the Christian church should be organized (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Corinthians 14:40). But this church is the reflection of the real church, the body of Christ, which Christ works through to accomplish His purposes in the world. Now this reflection may sometimes be imperfect. There may be people in leadership who do not belong there. The person God uses to overturn the current order and cure the corruption of the church may be an obscure monk from an obscure town in Germany. In an imperfect world under sin and a curse, the manifestation may not always reflect the reality. But it is still the expression of God in this fallen world.   

Now there are two errors people can fall into here. We can identity the outward expression with the true church and claim that the current leadership are the perfect expression of God’s will on earth, even though Scripture clearly teaches that all things should be checked by Scripture (Galatians 1:8,9; Isaiah 8:20; Acts 17:11). But we can make the opposite mistake and feel we can go it alone without the assistance of others. Or we can settle for superficial involvement where we show up but make no deep connections. But Scripture says we each have a gift, given to build one another up. There is no gift so minor it is not needed. There is no gift so great that the one who has it does not need others to build into their lives. We all need one another, that in connection to the Head (Colossians 2:19), we may encourage and built each other up (Hebrews 10:24,25) to be Christ’s hands and feet to minster to a hurting world.

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