I have come to the conclusion that—in spiritual terms—the body of Christ is the most important thing in the world.
It is the instrument God created to save mankind, wage war with the devil and his forces of evil, provide healing, and complete the good works of God on this earth.
I also believe many believers misunderstand, and under-appreciate, the body of Christ’s strategic importance. Although the term “body of Christ” appears many places in the Bible, we can easily pass it off as a sort of strange metaphor. When we do so, we lose insight as to who we are in Christ.
Americans in particular seem to want a Christianity that focuses on the individual. We are self-centered to a fault. We crave a gospel that brings us health, comfort, influence, and material prosperity.
But this attitude is a profound distortion of God’s will for us as His people. It also ignores the fate of the “heroes of the faith” mentioned in Hebrews. Namely, those who “were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. . . They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword” (Heb. 11:35-37).
We can fail to grasp the importance of Christ’s body, and our importance to each other, for persevering through the challenges of life in this world. When we do, we are ignoring God’s plan for us in light of eternity. That is why I feel so strongly we need a healthier understanding of what it means to be members of the body of Christ.
A wise man once said that the more he learned, the less he seemed to know. I often feel the same way as I study how the Bible uses “body of Christ” to describe us. There is a treasure of to be discovered as we better understand this term.
Yet, the more I learn, the more questions I find needing to be answered. I feel like I am straining to grasp the picture that Paul writes of in the famous “love” chapter in 1 Corinthians: “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:9-12).
I feel so strongly about the body of Christ that I have written an entire book about it. Even if you never get around to reading my book, I suggest you consider taking a look at—and meditating on—the idea that we really are a living body. A body that represents God’s love and ministry in the world.