Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Through the Apostle Paul, God assigned the Church the title of 'The Body of Christ'. It is "the Church which is His Body.”
That terminology is basic to all that the letter reveals.

Now the word "together" impresses me as to its use in the letters. In the ESV,four times in this letter, and thirty-six times in Paul's letters (I'm including Hebrews).

Eph_2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
Eph_2:21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
Eph_2:22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Eph_4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Several versions add a fifth “together” in Eph. 1:10.we are said to have been gathered together under one head, the risen Christ, hence Paul's use of “in Him” as he continues.
We have been corporately made alive to a new spiritual reality,”in Him”, with a corporate result in view,”so that it builds itself up in love”.

This corporate mind set displayed by Paul is repeated throughout his letters,:
Rom._12:4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function,
Rom._12:5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
1Cor._10:17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
1Cor._12:12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
1Cor._12:13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
1Cor._12:14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
1Cor._12:18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
1Cor._12:20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
1Cor_12:25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
Eph._2:16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
Eph._4:4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—
Col._3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Paul, without doubt, sees the body into which believers are called, as a singular entity.

Peter, in 1Pet. 2:4-5, sees this body as a single entity, when he writes, “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”.
a spiritual house”, “a holy priesthood”, a single entity.
The life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus was expressly  forthe establishment of this singular entity,which is the full number together, of those who rest in His finished work.

Ephesians 2:6 is part of the same sentence as the preceding verse where we are said to be "made alive together" in Him.

Furthermore the “us”, Paul and the believers in Ephesus, he mentions as being made alive, are mentioned again,"seated us with him".

Now, it's very interesting that these believers are now addressed as “you”, who “ are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household (singular) of God (2:19).

This very household has, very reasonably, a foundation (singular), which in 2:21, we are told has one “cornerstone” who is Jesus Christ, along with the apostles and prophets making up the rest of the foundation.

The fact that the Church is a single,corporate Body, at the moment of Paul's writing; Christ's work of grace is completed; it's not something that God has planned for the future, but as Paul writes, the Body is!

The parochialism which blinds us to what God says His Church is, is sin.

Paul's letter to the Ephesians, reveals what the work of Jesus Christ was all about, it is the unveiling of the mystery of Christ and His members, The Church, the one Body, and it clearly states the fact the Body is one, not several.

The Apostle isn't making an argument or a case for this singular nature of the Body or the Church, nor is this a discussion. He states the fact. It is settled for him, and it ought to be for us.

The Ephesians letter as it is written, declares the Body, the Church, as a solid whole, a corporate unity, which has One Head, the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is built of those who have been spiritually awakened to trust what Jesus has accomplished, that which was fully realized as He cried,”It is finished!”, and for what He is now the Advocate (1 John 2:1).

Whilst writing this I read a blogger I have come to appreciate and respect very much, Paul Burleson, who, today asked the question, "Do I believe in local churches?"

I'm not being pedantic when I answer,”No!”

Let me explain what I mean.

I believe in ONE Church, which can be represented by local people who trust the finished work of Christ, and as those who have received His Holy Spirit , now express His love for one another, and who, “….consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another....”.

These represent The Church, and are a local expression of The Church!

The Church, the Body of which we speak, is Christ in living union with His own.

A special building which we call "the Church", IS NOT THE CHURCH.

A religious institution, whether it calls itself Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, or some other name, and which you call "the Church", IS NOT THE CHURCH.

THE CHURCH IS, all who trust the finished work of Jesus Christ on their behalf, believers in living union with the risen Lord.
This Church is not a figure, or representation of a future dream.

It IS the present reality!

Our parochialism, which is reinforced by the "my church", or, "our church" idea, results in an attitude which stands in the way of that reality being seen.


Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

"Do I believe in local churches?"

Your answer..."NO,..These represent The Church, and are a local expression of The Church!"...is a far better and more biblical answer than I gave to my own question.

Good stuff my friend.

Aussie John said...


You really are my Barnabus! Thank you!

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