why do we call the church the body of christ

Several metaphors describe the church: the family of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, a holy nation, etc. Rated among the most popular is "the body of Christ. " This description provides rich teaching on how the church should function. Our physical body is composed of many members: hands, feet, arms, legs, ears, eyes, etc. It is the distinctiveness of each member that enables the body to function correctly. The same is true of "the body of Christ" of which we are members. The Bible expresses this truth as follows: "But God has combined the members of the bodyв. [so] that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. " (1 Corinthians 12:24-27) "In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. " (Romans 12:5)
We see how this works out in practical terms. Paul reminds the Christians not to forget the plight of their fellow Christians suffering persecution, but to identify with them in their suffering. "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. " (Hebrews 13:5) "The body of Christ" describes how God's people are to function together в interdependently, depending upon one another. "The body of Christ" is composed of members who are different.


It is God who has designed His body in this way. "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. " (Romans 12:4-6) Some members are gifted as teachers and pastors, others are evangelists, others are gifted at caring for those in need, others are gifted with great compassion, etc. But every member has something to offer to the edification the church. Peter says, "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. " (1 Peter 4:10) The church is seen functioning at its best when each member exercises his or her gift as the Lord intended. This is the point Paul makes: "From him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. " (Ephesians 4:16) Now. --We have here in general terms the application of the foregoing illustration, the detailed application of which follows in.


The Apostles were those selected by our Lord Himself, or afterwards elected by them to join that body. (On prophets and teachers, see. ) The teachers were probably a junior order of instructors. (See ;. ) The enumeration of the gifts here corresponds with that previously given in, with the exception of the mention here of "helps" and "governments," and the omission of "interpretation of tongues" and "discernment of spirit. " Possibly, therefore, the words inserted here are only another designation of the same thing. The "helps" being the aid required for those who heard tongues in order to the understanding them, and the "governments" being the due regulation of the acceptance of certain spiritual powers and rejection of others. Verse 27. Ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. Each Church is a sort of microcosm of the whole Church. St. Paul does not mean that the Corinthian Church is a member in the body of all the Churches, but that each Corinthian Christian is a member of the Church. Now ye are the body of Christ,. Not his natural body, which his Father prepared for him, in which he bore our sins on the tree, and which was offered up once for all; nor his sacramental body, or the bread in the supper, which is a representation of his body; but his body mystical, the church; not that the Corinthians were the whole of the body, only a part of it, as every single congregational church is of the church universal.


This is an accommodation of the simile the apostle had to so much advantage enlarged upon: and members in particular; or in part: meaning either that they as single members were part of the general body: or that only a part of them were so, there being some among them, as in all particular and visible churches, who had not the true grace of God; and so are neither members of Christ, nor of the general assembly and church of the firstborn: or the sense is, that they were not only members of Christ, and of his body, but were particularly members one of another, in strict union and close communion, and of mutual use and service to each other. 27. members in particular that is, severally members of it. Each church is in miniature what the whole aggregate of churches is collectively, "the body of Christ" (compare 1Co 3:16): and its individual components are members, every one in his assigned place. 12:27-31 Contempt, hatred, envy, and strife, are very unnatural in Christians. It is like the members of the same body being without concern for one another, or quarrelling with each other. The proud, contentious spirit that prevailed, as to spiritual gifts, was thus condemned.


The offices and gifts, or favours, dispensed by the Holy Spirit, are noticed. Chief ministers; persons enabled to interpret Scripture; those who laboured in word and doctrine; those who had power to heal diseases; such as helped the sick and weak; such as disposed of the money given in charity by the church, and managed the affairs of the church; and such as could speak divers languages. What holds the last and lowest rank in this list, is the power to speak languages; how vain, if a man does so merely to amuse or to exalt himself! See the distribution of these gifts, not to every one alike, ver. 29,30. This were to make the church all one, as if the body were all ear, or all eye. The Spirit distributes to every one as he will. We must be content though we are lower and less than others. We must not despise others, if we have greater gifts. How blessed the Christian church, if all the members did their duty! Instead of coveting the highest stations, or the most splendid gifts, let us leave the appointment of his instruments to God, and those in whom he works by his providence. Remember, those will not be approved hereafter who seek the chief places, but those who are most faithful to the trust placed in them, and most diligent in their Master's work.

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